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 teams to watch in Class 3A volleyball.
Returning all-state players
First team: OH Emily Bourne, Sr., Santiam Christian; OH Breanna Dapron, Sr., Creswell.
Second team: OH Allie Hueckman, Sr., Burns; MB Sophie Scott, Jr., Catlin Gabel; L Makenna Collins, Sr., Irrigon.
Honorable mention: S Taylor Cave, Sr., Cascade Christian; OH Aspen Schudel, Sr., Scio; OH Avyree Meithe, Jr., Warrenton; MB Katie Graham, Sr., Horizon Christian.
Teams to watch
Hueckman signed with Eastern Washington for basketball, but the second-team all-state pick and co-Eastern Oregon League player of the year will lead the Hilanders along with fellow first-team all-league selections S Kaiden Reff, a senior, and junior OH Kaitlyn Wright.
All-state setter Cave joins two other first-team all-Far West selections — senior OH Hannah Stanfield and MB Janie Kenaston — who will have the Challengers looking to win the league title solo after sharing it with Sutherlin a season ago.
The Eagles have waited 16 months to put the sting of their loss in the state playoffs to Vale behind them. With Scott (119 kills, 36 blocks) and junior MH Natalie Potter (235 kills, 46 aces, 116 digs, 27 blocks) back, they’re favored to repeat as Lewis & Clark champions ahead of Horizon Christian and Oregon Episcopal.
Dapron gets a lot of the attention for the Bulldogs, but senior S/RS Janessa Mallory and senior L Jane Marquess also made the all-Mountain Valley first team and helped Creswell reach the 3A state final for the fourth time in the past six seasons.
The two-time defending champion Eagles graduated 3A player of the year Kassie Staton (George Fox) and second-team all-state setter Josie Risinger, but with Oregon State signee Bourne (443 kills) and senior RS Allaire Gilder back from a 26-0 team, they’ll still be among the state’s best.