By René Ferrán
With only six weeks of competition and no state championship events, it won’t be a normal high school sports season. Nevertheless, we examine the top returning players and outlook for every Class 5A volleyball league in Oregon.
Hannah Stadstad (West Albany) photo by Leon Neuschwander
Northwest Oregon Conference
First team: S Vai Taale, Sr., Putnam; OH Clarissa Klein, Sr., Wilsonville; S Natalie Mathers, Sr., Parkrose; L Maggie Rasch, Sr., La Salle Prep; MB Savannah Moore, Sr., St. Helens.
Second team: S/MB Kaleah Webb, Jr., Hillsboro; OH Sydney Fritz, Sr., Parkrose; OH Maggie Gabrish, Sr., La Salle Prep; OH Ashli Edmiston, Jr., Wilsonville; OH Katelyn Bell, Sr., La Salle Prep.
Honorable mention: OH Kaitlyn Fritz, Sr., Parkrose; OH Kasten Warner, Sr., St. Helens; OH Karlee Webster, Jr., St. Helens.
Wilsonville reached its first state championship match last season led by first-team all-state hitter Lindsey Hartford, but with Saint Mary’s signee Klein and all-tournament OH Edmiston back, the Wildcats again will be formidable this season. La Salle Prep should push the Wildcats with three all-leaguers back, although the Falcons will look for a replacement for all-league setter Nina Timmen. St. Helens has three strong hitters back as well as senior setter Brea Paulson.
First team: OH Alexis Hobie, Sr., North Eugene; OH Sebrea Slaughter, Sr., North Eugene; MB Avery Hanson, Sr., Crater; S Kate Stidham, So., Crater; MB Ania Farmer, Sr., Ashland; OH Sierra Jenkins, Sr., Thurston.
Second team: L Quinn Christian, Sr., Ashland; S Kerra Pierce, Sr., North Eugene; OH Tessa Frodge, Sr., Crater; L Kylie Anderson, Sr., Crater; MB Kendra Bittle, So., Crater.
Honorable mention: L Cailee Hallett, Sr., Thurston; OH Abby Strand, Sr., North Eugene; L Emily Collie, Sr., North Eugene; OH Madison Kocina, So., Crater; MB Hailey Burcham, Sr., Eagle Point; S Laila White, Sr., Churchill; OH Jordan Ouellette, Sr., Churchill.
With Fort Lewis signee Hobie, a first-team all-state selection in 2019, and Slaughter leading the way, North Eugene looked ready to regain its perch atop the league standings it last held in 2017 before ceding it the past two seasons to Crater — except the league split in two this spring in favor of regional play during the pandemic. The Comets wouldn’t have given up the title without a fight, bringing back six all-league selections of a season ago — three of whom will be building blocks for the future as just sophomores this spring. Thurston last season made the state tournament for the first time since 2009 led by Jenkins, a recent Bushnell signee.
First team: OH Maddie Dowell, Sr., West Albany; MB Jadah Schmidtke, Sr., South Albany; S Elijah Sanders, Sr., West Albany; S Zaley Bennet, Sr., Corvallis; RS Hannah Stadstad, Sr., West Albany.
Second team: DS Hanna Jones, Sr., Corvallis; MB Gracie Boeder, Jr., West Albany; OH Bella Snyder, Jr., North Salem.
Honorable mention: OH Taya Manibusan, Sr., South Albany; OH Kennedy Kantola, Sr., Central; MB Bella Marsh, Sr., West Albany; MB Chloe Nealon, Sr., Silverton; S Sierra Noss, Jr., Crescent Valley; L Erin Scott, Sr., South Albany; OH Isabella Jacobsen, Sr., Lebanon; OH Eva Buford, Sr., Crescent Valley; OH Kaitlyn Vanwell, Jr., Dallas; S Madison Heagney, Jr., Crescent Valley; S Paige Traeger, Jr., Silverton; L Kendal Simmons, Sr., Corvallis; L Lily Horner, Jr., Silverton; DS Daniela DiCosmo, Sr., Corvallis.
West Albany has brought home trophies each of the past two seasons since dropping back down to 5A, and with Corvallis graduating state player of the year Ryann Gregg and all-state second-teamer Nevaeh Bray (both at the University of Portland), the Bulldogs could end the Spartans’ four-year run atop the league standings after sharing top honors a season ago. Stadstad has signed with Southern Oregon and is one of three first-team all-leaguers back for West Albany. With Corvallis rebuilding along its front line under first-year coach Kari Morrow, South Albany could take over as second-best in the MWC, led by Corban signee Schmidtke.
First team: RS Liz Barker, Sr., Crook County; S Kennedy Buckner, Sr., Ridgeview; L Ally Henry, Sr., Ridgeview.
Second team: MB Daisy Jenness, Jr., Pendleton; MB Aspen Bradley, Jr., Redmond; L Kacie Stafford, Sr., Crook County; L Kiyarah Hicks, Jr., Redmond.
Honorable mention: OH/S Sauren Garton, Jr., Pendleton; OH Cassie Kandle, Jr., Redmond; MB McKenzie Jonas, So., Crook County; H Kaylee Flemming, So., The Dalles; L Kayla Sheasby, Jr., Hood River Valley.
Reigning state champion Ridgeview no longer can count on its all-state duo of setter Allicitie Frost (Portland State softball) and hitter Rylee Troutman (Corban) to dominate the offense, but don’t count the Ravens out. They should have enough to compete with Crook County, which needs to replace sisters Kenna and Anna Woodward, and improved teams at Pendleton and Redmond.