Category: Summit Volleyball

No. 1 Summit, No. 3 Bend High to meet for state volleyball title

The Class 5A volleyball state championship will be an all-Intermountain Conference — and all-Bend — affair when top-seeded Summit and No. 3 Bend High face each other Saturday night at Liberty High School.

For the first time since 2009, when Crook County defeated Summit in the 5A championship, the state final will feature two IMC teams.

On Friday, Summit beat No. 8 Hood River Valley in the quarterfinals 17-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-15, then took out Corvallis 18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 in the semifinals to advance to the title game.

Bend, the defending state champion, defeated No. 11 Dallas 25-9, 25-17, 25-19 before taking down No. 7 Lebanon 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 in the semifinals.

The Storm and the Lava Bears played each other three times during the regular season. The two teams split the two IMC matches, and Summit defeated Bend in the Clearwater Classic.

“It was a good day for us,” Summit coach Jill Waskom said of the team’s two wins on Friday. “We’re still looking for that peak performance. We’re excited to play Bend for sure. It’s a good rivalry and always a good match. The girls are really excited and looking forward it.”

Against Hood River Valley, Haley Smith led the Storm with 23 kills, and Ella Knowlton added 11 kills. In the win over Corvallis, Smith and Knowlton each had 16 kills and Jade Waskom finished with 13 kills, 14 digs and four aces.

For Bend, Sonna Faulkner had 12 kills against Dallas, and Kaci Cox added eight kills and 14 digs. In the semifinal victory over Lebanon, Cambree Scott had 12 kills and three blocks, and Cox had seven kills.

“We’re serving really well and passing really well, and that’s really helping us,” said Bend coach Kristin Cooper. “That makes the rest of the game really flow for us. I’m really proud of the way they played. It’s great to see two IMC teams in the championship. It’ll be a nice, hard match and it’ll be fun. We’re pretty evenly matched.”


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.”


Back from a knee injury, Summit volleyball hitter still smiling

Haley Smith has helped the Storm to a No. 1 ranking in Class 5A

Haley Smith is always smiling, and she can’t help it.

Even resting on a trainer’s table while stretching out and heating her left knee, a daily ritual these days; even while feeling the bulky knee brace sliding down her leg during practices and matches, a constant and annoying reminder of her past; even while reflecting on one of the most difficult times in her life, Smith is beaming.

“I’m always having so much fun,” she says — smiling, of course. “I find myself happiest whenever I’m competing. … There’s no place I’d rather be than playing volleyball in a gym. It’s my absolute happy place.”

A Summit senior, Smith loves competition, and she loves life. And she wants the world to know it. Last year, though, Smith was heartbroken. A play she had made effortlessly countless times before became her downfall. Her junior season was derailed in the third match of the year by a torn ACL, lateral meniscus and medial meniscus in her left knee. And she found it difficult to smile through the anguish.

“Especially September last year, which was by far one of the worst months of my life,” Smith recalls. “Immediately when I was injured, I was absolutely devastated. I knew I had done something drastic and that it was going to take a long time for me to be able to recover.”

A year after being voted first-team all-state while helping Summit claim the Class 5A state championship in 2015, the 6-foot outside hitter placed high expectations on herself. She had been key in the Storm’s title win, blasting a match-high 18 kills in the final. Smith’s junior season, she had figured, should be special. But during Summit’s home match against Marist early last season, Smith moved laterally to her right and her left foot, she remembers, felt stuck to the floor. “I felt my knee almost explode.”

Smith’s season was over. And for Summit, it was the second outside hitter to be sidelined indefinitely, as standout senior Haydn Quatre had suffered a similar injury a week earlier.

“It was unbelievable,” recounts Lili Garcia, a senior setter on the current Summit team. “Right when it happened, everyone just went quiet. We had already lost Haydn, so losing Haley, one of our best players, at the same time was just devastating. … Losing Haley was kind of like losing someone in your family.”

“I was crushed,” adds 11th-year Storm coach Jill Waskom. “We had just lost Haydn … I was just thinking, ‘Oh, no. It can’t be happening again.’”

Heading into the 2016 season, the Storm were dead set on a second straight state title. The deck was stacked in Summit’s favor, but the injuries to Quatre and Smith changed that outlook. It was not that the Storm believed their chance at the crown was already shot, says Jade Waskom, a senior outside hitter for the current Storm, but the path to get there was riddled with obstacles. Jill Waskom, the coach, adds that at the time of Smith’s injury, “all of us felt like, ‘What are we going to do now?’” (Summit eventually reached the state tournament and took fourth.)

The sideline was a lonely place for Smith. In Summit’s first match after the injury, it took all her strength not to trot out onto the court, to dive after shots, to deliver a cannonball kill. She settled for focusing on what she WAS able to control: continuing allowable exercise regimens and cutting back on sugar, for example. “Doing whatever I could to maintain every bit of athleticism I had,” Smith says.

In the offseason, Smith was chosen to the top team with the Rimrock Volleyball Club despite not being healthy enough to try out. She made certain to attend every practice, participating in whatever drills she could with her still-mending knee. Smith was cleared to return to action in March, and she recalls that her first kill attempt may have been her worst in years — but it was the best feeling.

“It probably sailed 30 feet out of bounds,” Smith chortles. “But I was still so happy because it was the first time I had hit a ball in forever.”

Smith says she had to relearn how to dive for balls to her left. During the club season, she would hesitate, or she would shank a ball that took her to that side. Now, though, it is as if she never missed a practice, let alone an entire season. She skies for booming kills, dives and rolls to pick up digs, scrambles to save errant passes — all with that brace, which stretches from her lower thigh to her shin. The brace is difficult to ignore.

“It’s still not the same diving to my left versus my right,” Smith says, “and I’m still getting used to (the brace). But I’m pretty sure in the next few months it’s going to seem normal again.”

Smith, who says she has received a preferred walk-on offer to play at Oregon, has helped Summit reach the No. 1 ranking in 5A. Paced by their powerful outside hitter, the Storm, at 4-0 in Intermountain Conference play, are in the pole position for the conference title, already with wins over defending state champion Bend and rising IMC contender Ridgeview.

“It’s definitely very influential (having Smith back), not only skillwise but to have someone who has been in pressure situations,” Jade Waskom says. “It’s good to have her be a role model for all the younger kids. And knowing that you have someone there, it’s like your rock you can go to.”

“It’s very important to us now,” Garcia says. “Since we’ve had an example of what it’s like to be without Haley and have such a drastic change to the team, we realized that we needed to work hard. Now it’s putting it all together with Haley. It just amplifies everything, because we worked so hard last season just to GET to state.”

Smith spends 30 minutes on the training table before each game and 20 minutes leading up to practice. Scar tissue still prevents her from completely straightening her injured knee, but no matter. She is smiling now more than ever.

“I believe that I was injured for a reason,” says Smith, noting how, before the injury, she would frequently become frustrated with herself by not playing up to her own lofty expectations. “After getting injured, it basically gave me a new perspective, that I don’t have to be perfect every time I step on the court and that I can make mistakes, and as long as I have fun doing it, I’m going to improve as time goes on. Now that I’m finally able to play again, I’m never mad at myself during practices anymore.

“My attitude has completely changed.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0307,

Storm Go 2-4 in Arizona

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Summit finished seventh in the bronze bracket at the Nike Tournament of Champions. The Storm opened the day with a loss 25-20, 25-17 loss to Hudson Catholic (New Jersey) and then lost to Queen Creek (Arizona), 25-19, 25-13. The Storm lost to American Fork (Utah) 25-14, 25-17 and then beat Notre Dame Prep (Arizona) 25-22, 19-25, 15-11. Jade Waskom led the Storm with 28 kills on the day and Haley Smith recorded 21. Ella Knowlton had 20 kills and three aces, and Tatum Elshire had four aces. Summit finished 2-4 at the tournament.