JOHN DAY – The 2A Grant Union Prospector volleyball team showed strength at a home tournament Saturday, but took second to Weston-McEwen in the close championship game.
The day-long event drew 12 teams, including two Grant County 1A teams: the Dayville/Monument Tigers and the Prairie City Panthers.
Rounding out the roster were Heppner, Powder Valley, Nyssa, Weston-McEwen, Crane, Jordan Valley, Adrian, Pilot Rock and Cove.
Grant Union head coach Shae Speth said her team’s first real test of the day came in the second set against Heppner.
“We were down late in the game, but were able to focus and come out with the win,” she said.
The Prospectors’ scores against Heppner were 25-16 and 25-23.
The hosts’ 6-0 record in pool play set them up against Nyssa. The Lady Pros won in two sets, 25-22 and 25-19.
Grant Union chalked up two more wins against Cove in the semifinal round with scores of 25-22, 19-25, 15-7.
Weston-McEwen gave the home team a tough battle in the championship game, as the Prospectors lost two sets, 17-25 and 23-25, to the TigerScots.
Younger Prospector players, including freshmen Kori Pentzer and Mariah Moulton, set an aggressive pace for the team.
“From this tournament, we know we need to continue to work on minimizing our errors serving and hitting, while remaining aggressive in both areas,” Speth said. “We’ll continue to work on stronger team defense, which will come with experience and as team chemistry grows.”
She said that at this point in the season, she’s pleased with her team’s showing.
“We had a serve-receive percentage of 91, which is terrific for early in the season and where we would like to be,” she said. “We’re playing some really good volleyball. This team will only continue to improve and should have some great success this season. It’s an exciting and dynamic team.”
Tiger head coach Patti Wright said she was excited for her team to qualify for the championship bracket in the tourney after going 3-3 in pool play.
In their first games, the Tigers lost 13-25 and 14-25 to Grant Union, then defeated Powder Valley 27-26 and 27-25. They went 1-1 against Heppner, 25-17, 25-27.
Other scores were unavailable at press time.
“I feel like we were in a tough pool … it’s great to take some games from 2A schools,” she said.
Tiger senior Treiquella Osborne was pleased at that point.
“So far it’s gone pretty good,” she said. “Our team is doing better – we’re picking up where we left off last year.”
Louanne Zweygardt, head coach for Prairie City, said she was happy with how her team played on Saturday, noting the tournament field was fairly evenly matched.
She said that while her team didn’t win as many sets as she would have liked, there were many “individual victories in performance” that overshadowed the final scores.
The team went 0-6 in pool play.
In bracket play, the Panthers beat Pilot Rock 21-25, 25-7 and 16-14.
That success took them to the consolation final, where they lost to Powder Valley in three sets: 16-25, 25-21 and 12-15.
The Panthers now look forward to hosting a tournament next Saturday in Prairie City.
“The girls are continuing to work together well and staying positive,” Zweygardt said. “We will use what we saw this Saturday to build our practice plan for the week in preparing for our tournament.”
The Prairie City Tournament starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Panther gym, and Dayville/Monument is scheduled to play.
Grant Union travels Saturday to the Heppner Tournament, which starts at 9 a.m.
Grant Union stats
Kori Pentzer: 49 kills, 10 aces, 37 digs.
Mariah Moulton: 43 digs, 27 kills, 13 aces.
Sam Brock: 5 kills, 1 solo block, 1 block assist.
Rheanna Cartner: 26 kills, 52 set assists, 5 aces, 24 digs, 2 solo blocks, 8 block assists.
Mariah Meyerholz: 63 set assists, 4 aces, 18 digs.
Heather Mosley: 12 kills, 9 block assists.
Carli Gardner: 14 kills, 7 aces, 3 block assists.
Emily Mosley: 2 kills, 5 digs.
Chelsie Kodesh: 22 digs, 10 aces.
Sydney Stearns: 18 digs.
Other stats were unavailable.