PREP VOLLEYBALL: Panthers lose to top-seeded Summit in first round

BEND — Facing the top seed in the state, Central’s volleyball team lost to Summit 25-19, 25-16, 25-20 in the first round of the OSAA Class 5A state playoffs on Saturday.

“Summit was a very good team, very seasoned,” Panthers coach Claudine Mendazona said. “They had several contributors on offense. They passed really well and were able to run their offense for the majority of the match. They put us on the defensive a lot.”

Senior Krista Omlid had 11 kills, 11 digs and two blocks during the match. Sophomore Sydney Nash recorded 17 assists and eight digs.

Summit advanced to the state quarterfinals on Friday against Hood River Valley.

Central earned a spot in the state playoffs after defeating Thurston 23-25, 25-18, 25-17, 10-25, 15-12 in the play-in round on Oct. 24.

“The girls just really stepped up as a team,” Mendazona said. “They played well together. … I was confident our girls were capable of winning that match, and the girls knew they could if they got things done.”

Omlid had 24 kills and 16 digs. Annika Riddell recorded six kills and three blocks; and Nash had 27 assists, 17 digs and four aces.

Elizabeth Chavez (libero) was named first team all-Mid-Willamette Conference. Nash (setter), Erin Cole (defensive specialist) and Riddell (middle blocker) received second team all-conference recognition, and Omlid (outside hitter) received honorable mention.

The Panthers finished the season with an 11-10 record overall and an 8-6 mark in league play.

Central will see three seniors graduate from its varsity roster, but the experienced gained from returning players will be invaluable, Mendazona said, and could be a launching point to an even greater 2018 campaign.

“I think they see how important having that cohesion is,” Mendazona said. “Not only being together as a team, but believing and trusting in your teammates. You have to have that when you play a team sport. These girls have been to the playoffs last year, and now this season. I think it’s all about taking those little steps, progressing forward as they get older in the program.”


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