September 21, 2021 – The Siuslaw Viking volleyball team traveled to Sisters on September 18 and faced teams from across the state. They left as the Silver category champions and with a lot of momentum ahead of the Sky-Em League season.
After a 1-1-1 record in the pool, the Vikings did not fail to qualify for the top, or the âGoldâ slice only by one point. They shed any disappointment they might have felt and won four out of five sets to win the Silver Bracket Championship.
The tournament started with a game of pool. Each team would play two sets against three different teams. The top four teams would go to the golden slice. The next four would go to Silver.
Play at the pool
Game 1 – SHS tie Cottage Grove 25-18, 17-25
Siuslaw drew a familiar foe for the first match with Sky-Em League foe Cottage Grove. The Vikings won the first and the Lions the second. Junior Desi Tupua had 10 kills and rookie Rhianna Lane made 3 blocks for blue and gold.
âI think our team did a great job against a team that moves the ball really well,â said Siuslaw coach Kari Blake. âOur daughters played a very smart game and we can’t wait to see them in the league. “
Match 2 – SHS loses against sisters 13-25, 17-25
The home team proved to be a challenge for the Vikings, but, according to coach Blake, that advantage may have been more mental than anything else. Sisters is currently the # 1 ranked team in 4A.
Blake said: âWe know the Sisters always have a great team and I think the girls are losing their psyche a bit. Overall we didn’t play as hard as I hoped, but we still had some really intense rallies, and we had a lot of good moves from our back row.
Tupua tied the Game 1 total with 10 kills and rookie Mylee Blake was next with 7.
Match 3 – SHS beats Madras 25-17, 25-4
Game 3 started off slowly for the Viks until senior Zoe Alberty took over in the second set and Siuslaw snatched 14 straight points, including 6 points from Alberty’s aces. Mylee also had nine other wins.
The pool play ended with Cottage Grove and Siuslaw both 1-1-1, with the two teams winning a set when they met in Game 1. This meant it would boil down to points and the Lions beat the Vikings by one point more than the Viks. them. This meant Cottage Grove would go to Gold and Siuslaw to Silver.
âMissing the gold slice by just one point really put the importance of each point in perspective,â said Blake. “They were definitely looking for a first Silver spot.”
Semi-final – SHS defeats Marist 25-23, 25-22
In the semi-final match, Siuslaw drew in another Sky-Em League rival – in fact, the team they would face three days later, Marist of Eugene. Once again, Tupua gave the other team a hard time as they racked up 10 kills and 3 blocks to go with strong defensive play. Mylee had 9 kills and junior Hailee Outlaw had 7.
âHayden Muller, always an asset as a Libero, has done a great job of communicating and anticipating attacks from the other side,â said Blake.
Silver Championship Game – SHS def.Vale 25-16, 20-25, 15-9
In a two-team battle called the Vikings, Siuslaw came out on top.
Coach Blake called the silver final âintenseâ.
Tupua had 15 kills and 3 blocks. Outlaw had 8 eliminations and Muller 16 digs to play for Siuslaw. Junior Alizabeth Norton had a solid first row game.
Blake is full of praise for the Outlaw play.
âHailee has logged in on almost everything she has been set, and she has put the ball strong a few times,â she said. âIt really gives the team a boost when we have a great pass, a perfect set and a tough kill to get the point. The girls on the bench were coming out of their seats for Hailee after a great kill.
She said things are really clicking for Muller as well.
âHayden, our libero, killed him in the back row. She was everywhere, diving, rolling and digging balls from really good hitters. Hayden has been working hard on playing the court and it’s really starting to fall into place for her, âsaid Blake.
Tupua looked like Tupua.
âWhen the team starts to fall apart, they often look to Desi to do something to get them back on track,â said Blake. âShe’s probably our most reliable player on the pitch. I was proud of all the girls on Saturday.
Overall it was a great lead to play in the league in three days.
Blake said: âI was proud of all the girls on Saturday. Each of them contributed in their positive ways and we played a lot of good, smart ball.
Coach Viking sees the Sky-Em League as potentially a three-team battle: Cottage Grove, Junction City and Siuslaw.
âI think we have the potential to come out on top as long as we keep improving, playing our game and being willing to give it our all,â said Blake.
As in all high school sports, the specter of COVID-19 looms over the season, but Blake knows the entire Sky-Em League is facing a similar situation.
âI know there are teams playing now that have lost some of their players due to exposure to COVID,â Blake said. âIt may depend on who has a full list when we meet Junction City or Cottage Grove. I know they have great coaches, and every team will work hard for this league championship. “