by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic middle blocker Rebecca Fischer celebrates a point with her teammates during the Valiants three-set win over Warrenton.

Three up, three down.

In 10 of its last 11 games, the Valley Catholic volleyball team has brought out the brooms and brushed aside its bashful foes in just three sets.

Playing a balanced, resistless style of volleyball that relied on defense, hitting, and serving from the backline, the Valiants swept Warrenton 25-10, 25-11, 25-12 on Thursday for their fifth straight victory.

For Valley — who’s had little opposition in the Lewis and Clark League, except for Oregon Episcopal—it was just another walk in the park.

“That was our goal, just come out and dominate,” said senior Katharine Jesse. “We’re really balanced skill-wise, but our chemistry is so good. We all just love each other. We want to play for each other, and that makes us play even better.”

On senior night, in front of a boisterous, perceptive Valiant student section, Valley came out on fire. Jesse had four kills in the first-set triumph, and three blocks. Senior Catherine Casale bagged four consecutive aces at one point, running the score from 13-4 to 17-4 in a matter of minutes. Captain Ashley Ferris tacked on three kills of her own and the game-winning ace. Jesse’s kill midway through the first set completed an 8-0 run and handed the Valiants an 18-4 lead

“We wanted to go out, crush it and play to the best of our ability and show them what we can do,” said senior Madeline Henningsen.

Ferris said Valley’s energy with each other has been strong and their communication has been additionally secure, hence the easy victories and recent rolling good TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic senior Katharine Jesse directs a spike to the left side of the floor for the Valiants.

“It just all comes together and is so amazing. It makes me so happy,” said Ferris. “Our passion really shows, and our energy and our focus. It’s all in our passion and love for the game.”

The second set was much of the same, with the Valiants ferociously pummeling Warrenton’s defense with kills by Ferris and Jesse.

Henningsen notched another ace, and junior middle blocker Rebecca Fischer swatted a Warrenton attempt at the net to continue a 6-0 Valiant run.

Valley’s dialogue and support of each other was key from start to finish, Casale said. After every point, win or lose, the Valiants ran to the center of the floor, clapped their hands in the circle and encouraged each one another to keep playing hard.

“We had constant communication on the court and even off the court,” said Casale. “We knew what was going on at all times.”

There was an identifiable positive atmosphere on the floor as Valley competed with a lot of joy and passion that’s brought about through years of playing together. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic senior Ashley Ferris tips a kill attempt with her left hand in the first set of the Valiants three set win over Warrenton.

Ten of the Valiants are upperclassmen, with six being seniors. That seamless link of having countless games together is paying out positively in the form of an 18-win season and top five ranking in all of 3A.

“We all just blend well as a team,” said Casale. “We feed off each other, I think, which lifts us up and helps us play so well. We wanted to go out strong and go out with a bang.”

Jesse showed off her full array of hitting expertise in the final set, splitting kills down the left, right and middle parts of the court off passes from Sarah Gram and Taylor Dean. Junior Kayla Devlin thwarted a Warrenton shot with her left hand that handed the Valiants a 4-1 advantage.

Senior Rachel Liening got in on the kill session as well, sending one over the net that gave Valley a 12-7 advantage.

With the recent extended stretch of triumphs and just one regular season game to go this Thursday at Oregon Episcopal School, there’s been murmurs that this Valiant team is good enough to reach the 3A State Championship game.

OES is currently the top ranked team in all of 3A and the only team to beat Valley in the last month. The Aardvarks should be a strong trial, and a great warmup to what this group of seniors anticipates should be at the very least, a state tournament nod.

“We could go all the way. I don’t doubt it,” said Jesse. “I don’t think anything is going to stop us if we have this mindset. We’re ecstatic. We’re pumped. We’re ready to go show OES what we can do.”

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