Grant Union Prospectors started to rally in set three against Portland Christian, but fell to the Royals 3-0 at the OSAA 2A Volleyball State Championship in the quarterfinal round at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.
The Prospectors went on to beat the Bonanza Antlers with scores of 25-18, 30-32, 25-22, 23-25 and 15-13 in the consolation round. Grant Union then lost a 3-0 battle for fourth place to Union, the Bobcats winning with scores of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-17.
“It’s awesome to have such a young team, and it’s our first time at the tournament,” said Grant Union head coach Ali Abrego. “We made the top eight, and that’s what we were aiming to do.”
The loss to the Bobcats placed the Prospectors at sixth in state.
In their first game of the day, the Prospectors fell to Portland Christian in the first two sets 25-7 and 25-10, but began staging a comeback in the third set.
The teams went back and forth, then Grant Union went on a scoring run with Taylor Allen, a senior, serving.
Grant Union went up 7-4 when Prospector Abby Lusco, a junior, spiked the ball, then Allen served up an ace.
The Royals made a hard return of Allen’s next serve, but Prospector senior Kaytlyn Wells was ready for it with Kenna Combs, a junior, setting the ball for Allen who delivered a powerful kill.
The teams tied again 10-10, then the Royals began pulling away. Prospector sophomore Harli Grove had two kills toward the end of the set, but the Royals won it 25-18.
“Portland Christian is really a great team. They’re a lot older than we are, and that really showed,” Abrego said.
Abrego said Grove handles pressure well.
“She comes in cool off the bench and causes a few errors for that team and scores a few points for us — that’s really awesome that she has the ability to do that,” the coach said. “Taylor’s serving accuracy — she’s improved a lot — and she’s making smarter decisions.”
Abrego said the game against Bonanza was “intense to say the least.”
“We had one set go 30-32,” she said. “It was a long match, two hours and 45 minutes ... which just shows how mentally tough our girls had to be in order to win.”
It was the second time in two years that Grant Union beat Bonanza during the state playoff or tournament.
Abrego expressed her appreciation for assistant coach Andrea Combs, and said that while they both will miss the three seniors —Wells, Allen and Baylee Combs — they’re glad they don’t have to say goodbye to nine seniors as they did last year.
“Overall, we brought home a trophy, and I’m very pleased with that,” Abrego said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to have coached these girls.”
Kennedy defeated Central Linn for the championship title, and Portland Christian placed third, Union fourth and Vernonia fifth. Weston-McEwen also competed at the tournament.