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Summit beats North Eugene to win 5A girls soccer state championship

HILLSBORO — Panic began to set in for Summit over the final few minutes of Saturday’s Class 5A girls soccer state championship match.

Despite leading 3-2 over No. 1 North Eugene, the No. 2 Storm were being bombarded by a scrambling Highlanders team. Summit, in control for the entire match, was simply trying to hold off the Midwestern League champions on a brisk, cloudy afternoon at Hillsboro Stadium.

Finally, though, with less than a minute remaining, the Storm went on a counterattack. But rather than pushing ahead for another potential score, Summit pulled back and ran out the clock. And with the one-goal victory, the Storm claimed Summit’s sixth state championship, all coming since 2010.

“You just want (the clock) to count down, but time seemed like it was going super slow,” said Storm senior Maggi McElrath, who scored a goal. “When it hit zero, it just felt amazing.”

McElrath continued, choking up with emotion: “To finally make it back here after losing in the semifinals last year, it feels very good.”

Molly Day, a sophomore who transitioned from defender to forward late in the season, conceded that while the Storm had appeared in a number of state championship matches in recent years, they still entered Saturday’s final with some anxiety, especially considering at the start of the season the Storm did not expect themselves to advance this far into the postseason — let alone win the state title.

“There were definitely a lot of nerves,” said Day, who scored the match’s first goal in the 11th minute. “Coming from the beginning of the season, being a completely different team, to where we are now … it’s unreal. There are no words to describe it.”

Summit (16-2) was in control nearly wire to wire against North Eugene, which was making its first appearance in the state final. The Storm outshot their counterparts 12-6, including an 8-3 margin in shots on goal.

“They came at us physically a little bit, and I think they rattled us a little, and we did not respond until I said, ‘Hello? You have to match them physically,’” said North Eugene coach Brandy Wormdahl. “That’s been a problem for us this year, and we struggled with it in the first half.”

Of the first 11 minutes, Summit spent all but 30 seconds on the attack. While the Storm mustered just one shot, their second attempt was the game’s opening goal.

From 18 yards out, Day received a pass from Alexandra Walker, turned quickly to her left and fired a right-footed blast that caromed off the left goal post and into the right side of the net to give Summit a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.

“That really calmed us down a lot,” Day said of the goal. “But also, in a way, it made us more excited, to show that (a state title) is in reach and we’re almost there. It calmed us down in the game but hyped us up in our hearts.”

Nine minutes later, McElrath poked in a goal off a corner kick that was redirected by Michaela Gorman to extend the Storm’s lead to 2-0.

Abbey Sellars appeared to cut the deficit in half, but the goal was wiped away by an offside call. Sellars again had a scoring opportunity in the 30th minute, but her chip shot over Summit keeper Capra Williams drifted just to the right of the net, and the Storm took a 2-0 lead into halftime.

Summit had three strong chances to extend its advantage within the first five minutes of the second half, but a shot by Caroline Schutz glanced off the crossbar, and attempts by Alexandra Walker either sailed left or were saved by North Eugene’s Audrey Alhstrom.

With less than 17 minutes remaining, and with the Highlanders (15-2) scrambling to score, North Eugene’s Brittany Smith and Kara Ryker each sent headers toward the goal. But Smith’s attempt went wide to the right, and Ryker’s strike was saved by Williams. Finally, in the 70th minute, the Highlanders got on the scoreboard as Jordan Wormdahl collected a booming kick downfield and beat Williams with an 18-yard goal to trim the Summit lead to 2-1.

In the 76th minute, however, Gabbie Brocker cashed in on a North Eugene turnover to put the Storm ahead 3-1. Less than 30 seconds later, the Highlanders’ Sophie Cleland scored off a Wormdahl assist to bring North Eugene back to within one goal.

“I was proud of them,” Brandy Wormdahl said. “They came back and tried to get themselves back into it. But it just wasn’t our day.”

The Highlanders, though, could not get the equalizer, falling for the first time in 16 matches as Summit claimed its sixth state championship in as many appearances — the most titles by one program without a loss in OSAA boys and girls soccer history.

“The expectation’s been set by groups before them,” said Jamie Brock, Summit’s 13th-year coach. “But they wanted to earn their mark on our piece of Summit history.”

“We lost a lot of strong players last year, so we didn’t know if we would make it (to state),” McElrath added. “To be a part of it is just unreal. Unbelievable. You just want to continue the legacy.”

Bend High rallies to beat Summit for 2nd straight state volleyball title

HILLSBORO — Down two games and on the brink of losing the Class 5A volleyball state championship, Bend High never gave up and never lost confidence.

In thrilling come-from-behind, five-game fashion, the No. 3-seeded Lava Bears outlasted No. 1 Summit 21-25, 14-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-10 to win their second straight state title Saturday night at Liberty High School.

“I knew we were going to pull together as a team and get it back,” said Kaci Cox, a senior who led Bend with 20 kills and three aces. “We had nothing to lose at that point, and so we just left it all on the court. It was just fun. The win feels so much better when you have to fight and work for it. It was just the best feeling.”

Bend’s Cambree Scott sparked a five-point run for the Lava Bears early in the final game, staking the Bears to an 8-3 lead. Bend led 12-7 before Summit clawed back to within 12-10 on a kill by Knowlton. But the Lava Bears secured the title as a Summit attack error was followed by kills from Sonna Faulkner and Scott.

“I knew that they wouldn’t give up,” Bend coach Kristin Cooper said of her team. “They keep fighting.”

Summit took control early in the match, trailing just once in the first set. Five straight points, capped by two straight aces by Ella Knowlton, earned the Storm a 15-10 lead. Summit then halted any rallies mounted by Bend en route to an opening-game victory.

The Storm strung together several mini-runs in the second set, including a four-point sequence that ended with consecutive Asha Turnbull kills, to claim a commanding 2-0 lead and set up Summit for a potential state final sweep.

“I just had a feeling that it wasn’t going to end there,” Cooper said. “We weren’t done. We were going to take this. Then we just got that flow back and got more consistent. We just have the right mindset in matches when we’re down.”

Four straight points in the third game put the Lava Bears ahead 17-15, and a three-point burst soon after gave them a 21-17 advantage. The Storm tested Bend by cutting the deficit to 23-22, but the Lava Bears put the game away with back-to-back points.

“We battled in that third set,” said Summit coach Jill Waskom. “Just some balls didn’t go our way, and we didn’t close it out.”

“I knew we were going to start playing our game,” Cooper said. “We were out of sync in the first two games and we started seeing more consistency.”

The Lava Bears evened the match in another competitive set that featured Summit climbing back from a 21-16 hole to trail 24-23. A service error by the Storm’s Jade Waskom, however, gave Bend the game and set up a winner-take-all fifth set.

“When you get into that fifth game, it’s kind of starting at zeros,” Cooper said. “We had a little bit of a run, and we really started our momentum going.”

Scott finished with 13 kills for Bend. Megan Bushnell had 37 assists and Olivia Armstrong had 18 digs for the Lava Bears, while Brooklynn Anderson contributed six blocks.

Haley Smith led Summit with 27 kills, Jade Waskom had 13 kills, and Turnbull added 11 kills for the Storm, which went 2-1 against Bend in the regular season.

“It was just a great, fun, exciting match,” Jill Waskom said. “Both teams played really well. It was a game of momentum that went back and forth, and it was a great experience.”


Bend high schools moving to new athletic league

Bend schools join Salem area schools in Greater Valley Conference

After a year of being bounced around from league to league, Bend’s three high schools — Bend, Mountain View and Summit — have been placed in a larger-school athletic conference with five Willamette Valley high schools, the Oregon School Activities Association executive board decided Monday.

Bend, Mountain View and Summit, currently three of the largest schools in the 5A class, will compete in the 6A Greater Valley Conference alongside five Salem-area schools: McKay, McNary, South Salem, Sprague and West Salem.

The change came after more than a year of meetings and proposals by the OSAA classification and districting committee, and another three hours of testimony followed by 90 minutes of deliberation. It will start with the 2018-19 school year and is approved for four years.

“It feels bad when nobody really wants you,” said Mountain View athletic director Dave Hood, referring to the fact that each 6A conference was clamoring to not have Bend high schools as league members to avoid traversing the Santiam Pass, especially during the winter season. “But I think everyone is excited to get on it and get going.”

“Competitively, this is a really good match-up,” Hood said. “Their schools are a bit bigger than our schools, but I think we match up competitively. It’ll be interesting to see what we can put together to keep things competitive and not travel quite as much. That’s going to be the big issue: How are we going to do this?”

Travel, including costs and time spent out of the classroom, has been a sticking point with each 6A conference that had been proposed to accept Bend, Mountain View and Summit as members. At just more than 130 miles away, however, Salem was the most ideal area for Bend schools to team up with as a 6A conference. The OSAA executive board voted 10-1 to adopt the final recommendation of the OSAA classification and districting committee.

“I don’t know if people (in Bend) are resting easier or if they’re relieved that we’re finally put with Salem,” said Bend High Athletic Director Dave Williams. “Logistically, for us, it’s a much easier travel itinerary. It’s a pretty straightforward trip (at) 2, 2½ hours (of driving).”

Currently, teams from Bend compete in the Intermountain Conference, which includes Bend, Mountain View, Summit, Redmond High and Ridgeview. In football, as part of 5A Special District 1, the three Bend schools have traveled to Pendleton (243 miles away), Hermiston (217 miles) and Hood River Valley (141 miles).

While area athletic directors can breathe easy knowing exactly what is in store for their respective schools, their work is far from done.

“Now, the real work starts,” said Hood, noting that there could be proposals to stack boys and girls events and have both teams travel together to minimize cost. Another plan could include having volleyball teams play two matches on Saturdays rather than having to travel twice in one week. Many from Salem have expressed discontent with adding the Bend schools to the Greater Valley Conference. During Monday’s executive board meeting, much of the testimony was from Salem residents and officials complaining about the change. But Hood said athletic directors in the Willamette Valley are eager to begin a new conference.

“We got an email after the last committee meeting (Sept. 25) saying, ‘Hey, we needed to support our community and our parents and our kids, but we’ve always felt that, competitively, we match up well. And we’re excited about forming a new league,’” Hood recalled.

Hood noted that the OSAA could be forming an ad hoc committee to create a different layout for football only. Basically, Hood said, the committee would reorganize the adopted classification model to create competitive balance among conference members.

Aside from that, however, the new six-classification model is complete, and Bend high school athletic directors are eager to begin their schools’ 6A futures.

“Obviously, we’re going to miss our IMC buddies,” Williams said. “But the three of us get to go and be with five new schools and create a whole new league with a whole new operation procedure. We get to map out what we want.

“Knowing we’re going to Salem and competing with those five schools is something that I’m looking forward to.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0307,