The lady Cougs volleyball team had mixed results in the first and second rounds of state 1A volleyball playoffs. The ladies triumphed in a four-set battle versus South Wasco on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The second-round match versus third-ranked St. Paul resulted in a three-set loss, to send the Cougs home for the season.
The opening round on Oct. 30 saw a powerful Cougars team showing their stuff to South Wasco by scores of 25-16 in the opener followed by a 25-20 second-set loss. That was the last gasp for the Redsides as the Cougs roared back with set and match-winning scores of 25-15 and 25-18.
Coach Janea Hulse said the match was an incredible experience and helped fulfill some early season vows.
“We set a goal at the beginning of season that we wanted to go farther in league and state than we did last year,” Hulse said. “These girls met their goal, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. They are a great group of girls that work hard every day to achieve their goals.”
Team captain Ashlyn Young nailed 10 tough serves along with 36 digs and 46 assists. Junior hero, Shanna Rae Tillery swatted 17 strong serves and 41 digs, three blocks and nailed 20 kills. Likewise, junior Jamie Johnston tossed up 18 tough serves while she added 44 digs, 3 blocks and 19 kills on her holster.
“The younger players did a great job for their first experience in a state game,” Hulse said. “There is a lot of stress and pressure and we had a few little hiccups but overcame them and fought for the win.”
Saturday, Nov. 2, proved a stumbling block for the Cougs as they traveled to play on the home stomping grounds of the Buckaroos. The ladies fell in three straight sets by scores of 25-12, 25-16 and 25-9.
Nonetheless, Coach Hulse said that to end the season with a game against St. Paul was bitter sweet. She noted that the lady Cougs gave their all and stayed focused throughout the match and represented the Wallowa community with class and dignity through their excellent run this season.
“They (the Buckaroos) are a great team that I am sure we will see them at the top this year,” Hulse said. “We battled with them and we have not experienced that level of play this year. All the way around, each of our girls proved that they deserved to be in that game.”
Match highlights included Haley Brockamp’s six blocks and two kills while Shanna Rae Tillery netted nine blocks, nine kills, 43 digs and six tough serves.
Team captain, Ashlyn Young, tallied 16 assists, six good serves and 26 digs while Jamie Johnston chopped 3 blocks, spaded 51 digs and clawed six kills. Hulse noted that the whole team put out a valiant effort.
The coach said that the entire season was satisfying as the Cougs set and accomplished goals throughout the season. She also noted they were great teammates and she was proud of the commitment the ladies made to themselves, their team and the coaching staff.
“They showed immense sportsmanship through it all,” Hulse said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”