JOHN DAY - The Grant Union High School volleyball team cinched a state berth in play last Saturday, Oct. 22 with a 3-1 win over Nyssa.
The Lady Prospectors took 3-0 wins over Umatilla and Riverside, bringing them to a solid third-place position in the Eastern Oregon League.
A win against the Vale this Thursday, Oct. 27, would put the Grant Union girls into a tie with the Lady Vikings - and that would help in another way, said head coach Shae Speth.
"Vale is very tough this season, but we believe that if we play well Thursday, we can definitely challenge them. A win would certainly help our rankings, which determine who we'll meet in the first round of state," she said.
Although the Lady Pros won all six sets on Saturday, Speth said "every set was a fight for us."
"We found ourselves down in several, including the first set with Riverside. We were down 21-24 before pulling out the win," said Speth.
"We did not play well defensively or offensively throughout the day, but when it came down to finishing out sets, we were able to. That's something we've been working on."
For the day, Hailey McConnell led with 22 digs and eight aces. Hailey Cates led with 15 kills and seven aces.
Scores with Umatilla were 25-20, 25-23, 25-20, and Riverside, 26-24, 25-19, 25-22.
Two days before the matches with the Lady Vikings and Lady Pirates, the Lady Prospectors pulled off a 3-1 win over Nyssa on their home court.
The match showed much more intensity by the athletes, Speth noted.
We had one of our best games of the season on serve-receive and defense. As a team, we had a total of 85 digs on the night, led by Cates with 31, and McConnell with 20, she said.
Nyssa was very strong at the net, and our hitters had a difficult time converting. The match as a whole though, was indicative of our philosophy that serve, serve-receive, and great defense wins matches.
Scores for Grant Union were 25-18, 18-25, 25-21, 27-25.
At the same time the Lady Prospectors dug out the win with Nyssa, they also dug pink, raising money in the community for early detection and breast cancer research.
In their third annual Dig Pink Rally, the team raised more than $2,025 that will be split between the Blue Mountain Hospital Foundation and the Side-Out Foundation.
Helping spur the team to its victory was an amazing crowd, Speth noted. It was a very emotional night for our team.
See the teams standings in the league on this page.
Look for video of the match with Nyssa and Dig Pink rally on this website.