The Sutherlin and South Umpqua volleyball teams are among the final eight in contention for a Class 3A state championship.
Both squads will be in state tournament action on Friday at Forest Grove High School.
Eighth-seeded Sutherlin (18-9), the Far West League champion, meets No. 1 Santiam Christian (23-0) of Adair Village, the top team out of the Mountain Valley Conference and defending state champion, at 1:15 p.m. in a quarterfinal match.
No. 5 South Umpqua (18-7) takes on No. 13 Vale (15-11), which won the Eastern Oregon League title during the regular season, at 1:15 p.m. The Lancers finished third in the tournament last year.
Sutherlin, guided by Kathy Rice, advanced to the quarters with a win over Harrisburg in five sets last Saturday night at home. The Bulldogs have won seven straight.
Santiam Christian, which returned seven players from its 2018 state championship team, has only lost seven sets this season.
“In order to win the whole thing, you have to beat them all at some point,” Sutherlin coach Kathy Rice said. “We’ve made the top eight, so we’ll play our best volleyball and have a lot of fun and see where we end up.
“I couldn’t be happier, this is such a great group of girls. They’ve worked super hard, there’s no drama, they’re good students and good people. It’s been a lot of fun.”
The Eagles have two top hitters in 6-foot junior Emily Bourne and 5-11 senior Kassie Staton and a solid setter in 5-7 senior Josie Risinger. Bourne had 13 kills and Staton added 11 kills in last Saturday’s playoff win over Warrenton in straight sets.
Sutherlin is led by senior Alyssa Fox, who was selected the Far West MVP. Sophomore Kaybie Rutledge made first-team all-league, while sophomore Tianna Murphy and freshman Makayla Murphy were second-team selections. Senior Carmen Ganger received honorable mention.
The remainder of the Bulldogs’ state roster includes seniors Paige Smith and Hannah Jarman, junior Breona Daniels, sophomores Kaley Kuxhausen, Mallory Turner and Erica MacDonald and freshman Haley Smoldt.
“(Going to the state tournament) is huge for our younger players experience-wise,” Rice said. “We have three sophomores and one freshman who see some quality playing time and they’ve grown a ton this year. To see this kind of pressure and atmosphere will help them in the future.”
South Umpqua is coming off a playoff win over Oregon Episcopal in straight sets last Saturday at home.
The Lancers feature two all-state players in seniors Shalyn Gray and Jenna Whitmore. Gray and Whitmore were both repeat selections on the all-league first team and Gray was named the defensive player of the year.
Senior Ellery Smith made the second team and freshman Amanda Slay received honorable mention.
The other seniors are Tori Lind and Carlotta Davoli. The rest of the roster includes junior Brooke Abel, sophomores Aubrey Rainville and Kiersten Chapman and freshmen Raiya Estupinian, Grace Johnson and Violet Richardson.
“My expectations are always high, but I didn’t have a big senior group this season and wasn’t sure what to expect,” S.U. coach Sarah Gray said. “The girls have done a great job. We’re going there to compete.
“We played Vale last year (in a nonleague match at Cascade Christian) and beat them. I do know they have quite a few seniors (seven) and look like a seasoned team, and I’m sure they’re going to be tough. Height-wise we match up pretty well.”
The Sutherlin-Santiam Christian winner will play the Vale-South Umpqua winner at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
The other quarterfinals Friday pit No. 6 Burns (25-6) against No. 3 Creswell (19-8) and No. 7 Horizon Christian of Tualatin (13-6) versus No. 2 Salem Academy (17-7).