Siuslaw volleyball 5th at state

Siuslaw celebrates one of their many points against Creswell during their quarterfinal match at the 2022 OSAA 3A Volleyball State Championship at Springfield High on Nov. 4. Photos by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News

Vikings make run to highest finish since ‘87

Nov. 8, 2022 — Last weekend, the Siuslaw volleyball team went on a remarkable run to finish fifth at the 2022 OSAAA 3A Volleyball State Championship Tournament, their highest finish since they were third in 1987.

After finishing the season fourth in the Mountain Valley Conference regular season standings and barely sneaking into the state tournament as the final at-large team, the Vikings proved they belong with the top teams in the state.

Siuslaw’s postseason run started last week with a home win over Vale to open the state tournament, then a road victory over the Billies of Pleasant Hill in the second round.

Those two wins earned the team a trip to Springfield High as part of the championship bracket of the 2022 state volleyball tournament.

The gym floor at Springfield was divided into two courts so two matches could be played at once. This created an intense atmosphere as the arena was packed and strong support was shown for the four teams competing simultaneously.

This being the biggest stage any of these teams have played on all year, jitters were the expectation. As has been the case all season, the Viking volleyball team exceeded expectations starting with their quarterfinal match against Creswell on Friday afternoon.

Siuslaw and Creswell are quite familiar with each other.

The Vikings and Bulldogs had already met three previous times this fall, with Creswell taking all three matches, most recently in the Mountain Valley playoffs on Oct. 22 where the Bulldogs beat the Viks 3-1.

If those previous outcomes had Siuslaw worried, they showed no indication at the state tournament. 

The Vikings quickly took a 4-1 lead. They bumped that lead up to five at 11-6 and maintained their lead for that entire first set. Creswell pulled within four, 23-19, and looked like they were capturing momentum.

A kill by senior Hailee Outlaw increased the underdog Viking’s lead to five 24-19, just one point from victory.

The Bulldogs scored three straight points to pull within two, 24-22, and were also serving the ball. A perfect Viking bump, followed by an equally perfect Viking set pass to senior Desi Tupua, who did what she has done so well for four years; Tupua jumped up and spiked it off the fingertips of a Creswell player into the crowd for the SHS point and victory to make it 1-0.

Set two was all Vikings as Siuslaw grabbed control early and went on to win 25-12 to go up 2-0.

Set three went back and forth. With their backs against the wall, the Bulldogs refused to go down without a fight. The game was tied at 12-12, 13-13 and 14-14.

At 14-14, the Vikings took the lead and never gave it back. Three aces out of four points put Siuslaw up 22-15 and the Viks never looked back after that.

SHS won the set 25-17 and the match 3-0 to advance to the state semifinals.

Statistical highlights for the Viks’ quarterfinal match include Tupua with 20 kills and 4 blocks, Lane with 14 kills and 10 blocks and Outlaw with 6 kills and 2 blocks.

Their opponent in the semifinals would be Burns, who had beat Santiam Christian earlier in the day. Burns was the defending 3A state volleyball champions after winning the title in 2021.

The Vikings came in as the 15-seed, easily the lowest remaining seed in the eight-team championship bracket. Sadly for the Vikings, there would be no storybook ending for the Cinderellas of the state volleyball tournament.

Siuslaw played well in their game later in the evening on Friday, but Burns just played better. The Hilanders powerful front line was more than the Vikings could handle.

Siuslaw kept it close in the first two sets (25-23 and 25-22) but Burns pulled away in the third, 25-17, to win 3-0 and advance to the state championship game.

Tupua had 7 kills against Burns. Lane had 9 kills and 5 blocks. Outlaw had 4 kills.

With the loss, the Vikings would advance to face another familiar foe, Sisters, with the winner claiming third place and the loser fifth.

Top-seeded Sisters was swept by eventual champion Valley Catholic before their match with Siuslaw so, like the Vikings, they were looking to end the tournament on a high note.

Sisters, champions of the Mountain Valley Conference, have been Siuslaw’s nemesis all season, beating the Viks twice in league play and once in a non-league tournament. That domination continued on Saturday as Sisters sent the Viks home with the fifth place trophy in three sets, 25-17, 25-17, 25-9.

The “big three” provided a few highlights during the Sisters match. Tupua had 12 kills to lead the Viks. Lane had 10 kills and a team leading 8 blocks. Outlaw chipped in 3 kills also.

Valley Catholic would go on to beat Burns 3-0 to claim the 2022 OSAA 3A Volleyball State Championship.

Tupua was named to the all-tournament first team after the completion of tournament games.

Siuslaw celebrates one of their many points against Creswell during their quarterfinal match at the 2022 OSAA 3A Volleyball State Championship at Springfield High on Nov. 4. Photos by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News

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