REDMOND — Grant Union volleyball’s run for state and a subsequent fourth-place finish after pandemic restrictions canceled the state tourney last year and limited crowd sizes at matches was what both the school and the community needed to come together this year.
“This year our school and community was ready for something that they could come together for. This team was exactly that! We had such amazing turnout at all of our games both home and away,” Shanna Northway, Grant Union’s volleyball coach, said in an email to the Eagle.
Grant Union’s Paige Gerry, a senior, said the team had never seen so many fans come out for volleyball matches during her high school career. Senior Carson Weaver told the Eagle the team had the largest crowd at the state tourney.
Gerry said that the team had experienced a state tourney before, but having the crowd in the stands made for a great experience this year.
Lauryn Pettyjohn, a senior, said Crane was at the tourney and came out to support the Lady Pros.
“They’re from Eastern Oregon, too," she said. “And they came and supported us, and we supported them, too.”
The Lady Pros fell to Salem Academy 3-1 in the semifinals Friday, Nov. 5.
In a match for third place on Saturday, Nov.6, the Lady Pros went the distance in a four-set loss against Monroe.
Grant Union came out of the gate strong, winning the first set, 25-23. Monroe bounced back to win the final three sets, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23.
The Lady Pros’ fourth-place finish followed a sixth-place finish in 2019 and a second-place finish in 2018. In 2020 the state championship tournament was canceled due to the pandemic.
Grant Union finished the regular season ranked fourth in state, with an overall record of 23-12, and went 10-2 in league play.
Senior Grace Taylor said while it was frustrating to lose the last two matches, the team felt good about what they accomplished.
Northway told the Eagle that she saw the team grow throughout the season.
“This group of girls had tremendous growth over the season not only as athletes but as young women,” Northway noted.
“What I loved most about this season is watching them fall in love with the sport of volleyball,” she added, "watching them enjoy the game and the competition.”