Vale On Road, Burns Home For State Volleyball Tournament

This article brought to you by Malheur Drug in Vale (541) 473-3333.

BURNS – As the state 3A volleyball tournament begins this weekend, the two teams representing the 3A Eastern Oregon League will start the march towards a state title on differing tracts.

The 13th seeded Vale Vikings will travel to fourth ranked Creswell on Saturday, Oct. 30 after a second-place finish in the EOL tournament. The match is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Burns, seeded second in the state and champion of the EOL tournament, hosts 15th ranked La Pine on Saturday with the first serve scheduled for 1 p.m.

The two teams, both veterans of state tournament play, took differing routes on the way to the tournament.

Burns, after winning the season title, played host to the Eastern Oregon League tournament and had a first round bye. Vale was tasked with beating Nyssa prior to meeting the Hilanders.

Facing the Bulldogs for the third time in the season, the Vikings scored a 3-1 victory. Vale came out strong, winning the first set 25-16 and taking the second set, 25-22. Nyssa fought back in the third, pulling the match tight with a 25-23 win over Vale. The Viks rebounded in the fourth set, winning 25-22 and taking the opportunity to advance against Burns.

“We spend a lot of time working on offense and service/receive and I felt like it paid off against Nyssa,” said Vale coach Shannon Steele. “It was great to see everything come together that game. Nyssa played a great match.”

Against the Bulldogs, the Vale team served at 92 percent led by Brogan Payne going 16-for-17 with three aces and Lexi Cleaver’s perfect 15-for-15, also with three aces. Taleah Zueger and Jojo Cleaver each ended with 20 digs followed by freshman Elise Seals with 14 digs.

Offensively, Ali Aldred had 31 assists while Lexi Cleaver and Jojo Cleaver each recorded 10 kills.

Related: Vale v Nyssa and Burns v Vale Photo Galleries – Brandon McMullen

“We came onto the court with confidence and trust in each other,” said Aldred. “The times when our games were close was just lack of communication.”

“It was a good fight,” commented Zueger.

Any local coach will comment of the issues of winning over an opponent three times in a season. Vale accomplished the feat against Nyssa. In turn, Burns accomplished it against Vale.

Meeting in the finals, the Hilanders downed the Vikings, 25-20, 25-21, 22-25 and 25-18.

Offensively, Kaitlyn Wright was a terror for the Hilanders, recording 21 kills versus the Vikings. Mackenzie King finished the match with 12 kills.

From the service line, Burns served at 92 percent led by Macy Temple, Lacie Tiller and Kaya Dobson, each with three aces. Temple and King each had 13 digs to lead Burns.

Sophomore Ashley Wright ended the match with 38 assists.

Burns is amazing and this was a fun match to play, very fast paced,” said Steele. “I was extremely pleased with our serve/receive. The last time we played Burns, we really struggled so it was nice to see us put things together and pass the ball better.”

On the opposite side of the net, Vale served at 90 percent for the match led by Jessi Arriola going 10-for-10. Zueger ended her day with 22 digs with Seals, Aldred and Jojo Cleaver recording nine digs each.

Offensively, Lexi Cleaver led the Vikings with 11 kills with McGourty and Jojo Cleaver putting up nine kills each.

“I believe we could have played better as a team and communicating, but we are just glad to make it to the state playoffs,” said Zueger.

“I think by the fourth set, we were just gassed,” Aldred said. “However, I think it was the best fight we have put up against Burns this year. All our games were extremely close and we battled for each point.”