JOSEPH — The Joseph volleyball team ran its winning streak to 20 straight matches, exacted a little revenge for a 2019 playoff loss and reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in three years by sweeping Days Creek in a second-round home match Saturday, Oct. 30, 25-16, 25-14, 29-27.

Players and coach Jill Hite alike said that the Eagles had really good energy during the first two sets, and managed to complete the sweep despite lacking some of that energy in the third.

"I think in the beginning we did a good job of talking, but toward the end we kind of fell out (of rhythm)," setter Aimee Meyers said. "But that just goes to show when we put our mind to it we can do it."

The victory set up another home match for the Eagles, who will host North Douglas in the state quarterfinals Tuesday, Nov. 2. The Warriors swept Perrydale on Saturday and, like Joseph, enter the quarterfinals with a record of 24-3 overall.

"It's exciting. We get to play a good team," Molly Curry said. "We're in the elite eight now. It's going to be a good game."

Few, if any, teams in Class 1A have played better than Joseph during the last two months, and the Eagles kept that momentum rolling right into Saturday's match against the Wolves. That the Eagles have played — and defeated — several other highly ranked teams helped entering the playoffs.

"I think when we come out of those games (against good teams) and win, it shows us that we can win through anything if we put our mind and work toward it," Cooper Nave said.

Hite said, though, that the players are not focusing on some of those milestones — such as a league title or a 20-game winning streak — but instead are always looking to what's next.

"They have a hard time celebrating those things," she said. "We try to work on (making sure) they are ready for the next thing. They don't take a chance to (say), 'Oh, we won district. Oh, we're in the elite eight.' I had to really talk to them about that and let them know 'OK, girls, this is what you've done so far.' They're looking ahead, always."

The Eagles opened up a double-digit lead in each of the first two sets, trailed just once the entire match and were only threatened by Days Creek late in the third set.

Joseph opened the match on a 13-2 run to quickly take an 11-point first-set lead thanks to three kills in four points from Curry. Kills by Emma Orr and Nave gave Joseph its largest lead of the first set at 18-6.

"What's really nice is when we can't go one place, we can turn around and go to another place," Hite said of the balanced offense, which has been one of Joseph's strengths this season. "It's nice to be able to have those options instead of just having one option like what we've had (in the past)."

Days Creek, which traveled almost 540 miles for the second-round match, made the first set somewhat interesting with a 9-1 run, getting within 19-15 on a kill by Bailey Stufflebeam. But Nave had four kills late, including the final one of the set for the 1-0 lead.

"I think we were playing really well in the first two sets because we all had confidence in each other, and were just having confidence in ourselves, and our serves were good," Curry said. "We were just playing our positions."

A serving run by Nave helped put the second set away in a hurry. The sophomore had three aces as the Eagles turned a meager 5-4 lead into an 18-4 margin.

The final point of the 13-0 run brought a moment of humor to the match. Curry put a kill attempt off the head of a Days Creek defender that, even as the rally continued, set several Joseph players — especially Meyers — into a fit of laughter.

"I really was laughing hard, couldn't focus, but pulled myself together and got through it," she said.

Curry did finish the point off with a kill and a 14-point lead. Orr later had a kill to put the set away.

The Eagles appeared ready to put the match away easily, as Joseph on several occasions in the third set took an eight-point lead, the last on a kill by Orr that left the team two points from the victory at 23-15.

Days Creek put together one final salvo to not only get back into the set, but reach the cusp of a fourth set. Three kills and a block by Stufflebeam and consecutive kills by Lyris Berlingeri moved the Wolves to within 24-23. A kill attempt from Nave went long to tie the match at 24-24, and after the teams tied at 25-25, McKenzie Park blocked the ball for the Wolves' first — and only — lead of the night at 26-25.

The teams battled to a 27-27 score before a kill by Berlingeri went long to give Joseph the lead back, and on the next point, the Wolves failed to handle a ball played over the net by Meyers, sending the Eagles on.

Curry finished with eight kills to lead the Eagles. Nave had six kills and team-high 18 digs and six aces, McKenzie Keffer had 15 digs and Meyers had 13 digs and 21 assists.

Joseph and North Douglas meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Sather Court, with the winner advancing to the semifinals Friday at Ridgeview High School in Redmond. The teams last met in the postseason in 2017, with the Eagles taking down the Warriors in straight sets on the way to a third-place finish.

"I think it'll be fun to have the quarterfinal match here, which will be nice," Hite said. "It'll be a good one. North Douglas is tough. We've been watching film on them. They're a little bit taller than we are, so they have a little bit bigger front row than we do. They are pretty scrappy. They have a good little libero, so it'll be a good matchup."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information. 

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