The Cougars reach the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons but are unable to string points together against the No. 4 Crusaders.

by: KORY MACGREGOR - Senior setter Abby MacGregor (5) and junior middle blocker Ana Sanchez (10) form a block during the Canby volleyball team's playoff game at Jesuit. The Cougars fell in straight sets.It would’ve taken an extraordinary performance from the Canby volleyball team to upend Jesuit in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Jesuit, after all, entered the match with the state’s No. 4 ranking and sweeps in all but two of its 20 victories.

The Cougars found out why Oct. 29, finishing their season with a frustrating 3-0 (25-9, 25-11, 25-7) loss to the Crusaders on the road.

“They’re one of the best teams we saw all year, but they’re not 25-7 better,” first-year coach Terri Jo Schlatter said. “They were good, but I also think (my players) are just not quite there. They’re just starting to believe they can play at a high level, but they’re not quite ready to sustain that kind of fight.”

Jesuit has been a frequent postseason obstacle for Canby, which also fell to the Crusaders in the state playoffs three years in a row starting in 2007.

This meeting was no different, as the Cougars (9-16) weren’t able to keep the Metro League champion from advancing to face Grants Pass in the second round.

Canby entered the match on the heels of a 3-0 triumph against Westview in the play-in round, securing a spot in the state bracket for the second-straight year. The program has made seven playoff appearances in the eight seasons since the OSAA created six athletic classes.

But this year’s campaign ended much like it did under then-coach Caitlin Gustin last year, when the Cougars swept South Eugene in a play-in match before falling in straight sets to Hillsboro-Century in the opening round.

“Not how I wanted to end my volleyball career,” senior middle blocker Carissa Reeder tweeted. “But I love my team!”

Canby, which has not won a playoff game since 2010, lost in three straight sets to nine opponents this season.

The last of the bunch was Jesuit (21-4), which overpowered the Cougars with a strong attack and a formidable defensive front. Elise Krippaehne and Kathryn Decker combined for 17 kills and eight blocks.

“They had some big hitters, especially in the middle, and that set the tone for the match,” Schlatter said. “They had a big block, and it got in our head, so we’d hit the ball out of bounds.”

Canby had trouble stringing points together all evening, mustering just nine in the first set.

Its chances for an upset dwindled with a 25-11 setback in the second frame, and Jesuit rode its momentum to an easy 25-7 decision in the final set.

The Cougars logged more hitting errors than kills in the match.

“Our ball-handling, which has been our strength, was definitely not as good, and against a team like that we have to bring our strength in order to compete,” Schlatter said. “Our best thing, we have to do it well, and we didn’t.

“It was painful. The whole thing was painful because I didn’t want them to end on a match like that. It’s been a great season for them. I didn’t want the last thing they tasted being not their best effort.”




2006: round of 16

2007: quarterfinals

2008: fourth place

2009: fifth place

2010: round of 16

2011: no playoffs

2012: first round

2013: first round

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