Reedsport’s volleyball team was eight points from advancing to the Class 2A state volleyball playoffs last week, when Toledo had a momentum-swinging surge in their Sunset Conference tiebreaker match and went on to beat the Brave in five sets.
Toledo advanced to the playoffs, losing in three sets to Central Linn on Saturday.
The two teams ended up tied for second place in the final standings, setting up the tiebreaker match.
Unlike in the regular-season finale, when Toledo swept the Brave, Reedsport came out fired up in the tiebreaker match.
Reedsport won the first set 25-19 and the second 25-21 and led the third set 17-13 when Toledo called a pivotal timeout and stole momentum in the match.
Toledo went on to win the third set 25-22, the fourth set 25-14 and the fifth set 15-12.
It was a disappointing ending to a strong season for Reedsport. With a strong returning cast, the Brave can hope for another strong season next fall.
“I think they grew a lot this year,” Reedsport coach James Hixenbaugh said. “I look forward to next year.”
The big challenge will be finding a setter to replace Makenzie Seeley, one of the team’s seniors.
Seeley had 38 assists and four kills in her final match for the Brave. She handled primary setting duties all season.
Seeley looked back fondly on the season after the playoff match.
“We came together as a family a lot,” Seeley said. “When we were off, we were off. When we were on, we were on fire.”
For half of the playoff match, that described Reedsport.
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Aubree Rohde had six kills in the first set and Reedsport also got kills from Riley Wright, Jenna Corcoran, Cassy Galan, Cheyenne McCart and Payton Plagmann.
That strength continued through the second set, when Divinity Farris had three aces.
Unfortunately for Reedsport, the Boomers didn’t go quietly, instead turning the match around in the third set.
“I feel like we fought hard,” Seeley said. “I wish it could have ended better.
“We had all the momentum and we let it go — we never really recovered.”
Despite the loss, Hixenbaugh said he was proud of the team.
“They battled,” he said. “They wanted it.
“You could tell both teams wanted it. It was fun.”
By the end of the match, Wright had 14 kills, nine digs and three stuff blocks; Rohde had 12 kills and 14 digs; and Corcoran had 10 kills and 13 digs.
Rode and Wright are juniors, and will be back along with the sophomore Corcoran and Haylee Lent, another sophomore who missed the last several games with an injury.
Also back is McCart, a junior and the team’s libero, who had 13 digs; Farris, a junior defensive specialist who had four aces; and Galan and Plagmann, both sophomores. Freshman Madeline Carter was called on for serving duties in the match — including the last three points of the second set, all kills by Corcoran.
Toledo’s leader in the match was Kaycie Otis, whose parents both graduated from Reedsport. She had 28 kills and 14 digs.