DIXONVILLE — Umpqua Valley Christian cleared its first hurdle of the Class 1A volleyball playoffs on Wednesday night.
The No. 10-seeded Monarchs played solid all-around and sent No. 23 Trinity Lutheran of Bend home with a 25-15, 25-15, 25-13 loss in the UCC gym.
Umpqua Valley Christian (16-4) travels to No. 7 Echo (21-4), the Big Sky League champion, for a second-round match Saturday. Echo was ranked No. 8 and UVC No. 9 in the final OSAA 1A coaches poll.
Trinity Lutheran ended its season with a 14-9 record.
“It helps so much (playing at home),” Umpqua Valley Christian senior Tylie Bendele said. “They create a lot of energy that we couldn’t by ourselves. I thought we did really well. We played as a team and just focused on the small things. Our hitting was good and passing was a lot better than it has been.”
The Monarchs have won 12 of their last 14 matches.
“It was extremely important (having a home match). The whole crowd kept us pumped up for the whole match,” UVC senior Jaley Reich said. “I think we did come in confident, but I wouldn’t say overconfident. We knew we’d be playing a team that could take this away from us, so we had to come in with a lot of mental toughness.”
“It definitely feels awesome,” UVC senior Alannah Thennes said. “We’ve had a lot of pressure, but haven’t let it get to us. We played pretty well. There’s always room for improvement, but we played really well as a team.”
“It was a lot of fun, and I’m happy we had a home match,” UVC senior Tiffany Smith added. “We played really well, but need to communicate more. We know it will get harder from here, but we can go far if we work hard.”
Monarchs coach Candice Renyer called it her team’s best match of the season.
“This was a really important night,” Renyer said. “They’re just getting going ... we had a slow start to the season and have been playing well, but everything came together tonight. They flowed and worked together, and the seniors brought a steadiness to the court. Everything was really good.”
Zoey Pappas finished with seven kills and five blocks for UVC, which is making its first appearance in the state playoffs since 2018. Bendele contributed six kills, Alli Hu made 14 digs, and Amy Pappas chipped in 12 assists and nine digs.
“There were definitely some things we could’ve done better,” Reich said. “We just need to trust each other a little more.”
“We could work on setting and coverage,” Bendele said.
The UVC-Echo winner will advance to the quarterfinals on Nov. 2 against the winner between No. 15 Central Christian (16-5) and No. 2 St. Paul (27-4).
The four-team state tournament will be held Nov. 5-6 at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.