The Joseph volleyball team took care of business on its home court Wednesday night with a 3-1 victory over Ione in the opening round of the Class 1A state tournament.
Senior Haven Johnson had nine kills against the Cardinals, while sophomore Emma Hite had six kills and three aces. Senior Johnelle Suto recorded a team-high 21 assists.
The Eagles (21-6) took the first two games easily, 25-14 and 26-16.
The first game was close until Hite took serve with the Eagles leading 12-11 and reeled off three aces in a string of six straight Joseph points.
The pattern was repeated in the second game when Hite took serve at 13-13 and the Eagles put together nine consecutive points — including three on a pair of kills and a block by Junior Alexis Sykora.
The Cardinals (10-16) opened an early 7-1 lead in the third game and held on for a 25-23 win.
“That’s something we’ve been working on all season,” said Joseph coach Jill Hite. “It’s about mental focus. We lose that and start to miss some serves. We sometimes lack that emotion. Then, once we get it back, we get back into things. They can hit a valley, but you never can count them out.
Joseph slammed the door with a decisive 25-12 win in the fourth that included lengthy service strings from Johnson, sophomore Tori Suto and senior Taylor Grote.
Sykora recorded four kills and a team-high seven blocks. Senior Ally Cooney added five kills and seven digs. Tori Suto led the team in digs with eight.
“We’re hitting good right now,” Coach Hite said. “They’re very focused on what they want to do.”
With the win, the Eagles earned a Saturday road game at Crane, the No. 1 seed out of the High Desert League, in the second round of the state tournament. Going into the match, the Mustangs had won their previous 11 matches and lost just two sets during that span.
The Mustangs maintained their momentum and eliminated the Eagles in three sets: 25-16, 25-19, 26-16. Individual stats for the match were not provided.
The Eagles finished with an overall record of 21-7 and went 11-3 in regular-season league play.
Powder Valley, the top seed out of the Old Oregon League, also lost Saturday. The Badgers were upset by Adrian in four sets: 25-27, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21.