The Reedsport volleyball team entered the week with a chance to catch up with Coquille in the race for the league title.
But in their second showdown of the season, the host Red Devils swept the Brave Monday night, winning 25-20, 25-18, 25-17.
Barring a collapse, the unbeaten Red Devils will repeat as Sunset Conference champions. They now hold essentially a three-game lead on Reedsport and the rest of the league since they swept the season series with the Brave and everyone else has at least three losses.
Reedsport, meanwhile, will now try to stay focused to finish in second place in the final league standings, which would enable the Brave to host in the league playoffs for the league’s second guaranteed berth in the state playoffs.
“That’s where we are,” Reedsport coach James Hixenbaugh said.
The Brave were coming off a great week when they beat Toledo in a key match and then won at Myrtle Point to open the second round of league play.
“We had been playing really strongly,” said Riley Wright, adding “We feel good about where we are.”
Reedsport hoped to give the Red Devils a strong match, and was in good shape in the first two sets before late Coquille runs helped the Red Devils win. The first set was tied 14 times, the last at 18-all, but Coquille scored three straight points and Reedsport couldn’t recover.
The second set was tied eight times before Coquille scored six points in a row to again pull away. The Red Devils pulled away earlier in the final set to complete the sweep.
“It was a good match,” Hixenbaugh said, adding that Coquille was just too good.
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There were a couple of big differences. Reedsport had eight service errors and only two aces — consecutive serves by Divinity Farris late in the third set. Coquille, on the other hand, had seven aces, including on match point by Hailey Combie, who was a big part of Reedsport’s other problem in the match.
Combie finished with seven stuff blocks and Coquille tipped a bunch of other balls at the net.
“They block the ball well and we don’t block cover well,” Hixenbaugh said.
Some of Reedsport’s players had strong matches. Wright had 10 kills. Jenna Corcoran, Aubree Rohde and Haylee Lent combined for 15 more. And Cassy Galan, Farris, Lent and Makenzie Seeley had at least 10 digs each and Rohde, Wright and Cheyenne McCart all were close.
“I think we played well, but there were communication errors,” Wright said.
“It was a good game. They’re a good team.”
Reedsport is 6-2 with four league matches to go. Toledo and Bandon both are 4-3 and Myrtle Point is 4-4.
Reedsport now will try to get back to where it was last week, when it beat Toledo 25-17, 25-18, 12-25, 25-23 and won at Myrtle Point 25-9, 25-19, 27-25.
The Brave visit Waldport on Wednesday and Bandon next Tuesday before hosting Gold Beach next Thursday.
“We’ve got to keep going,” Hixenbaugh said.