Madras spikers pick up TVC clash
Buffs sweep Rangers in road tilt
Madras setter Elle Renault served seven straight points in the third set to help lift the White Buffalo volleyball team to a 3-0 victory against Estacada on Thursday in Estacada.
Set scores were 25-23, 25-22, 25-20.
MHS head coach Rhea Cardwell said the team played well the entire match, and it was a sight for sore eyes after the brutal nonconference schedule the Buffs played.
"We played extremely well," Cardwell said. "Estacada is a solid team, and to come out and win in straight sets showed a lot of focus and our will to win."
While the Buffs entered the match without a recordable match win – they had won some pool play games in tournaments that aren't officially counted as matches by the Oregon School Activities Association – it wasn't for lack of trying. Every team the Buffs played in the nonconference portion had been to the postseason the year before, and returned the bulk of the players that got them there.
"Our nonconference games prepared for whatever league will throw out us," Cardwell said. "We've seen it all because we played some of the toughest teams around already."
Following the Buffs' first- and second-set wins, Cardwell was especially impressed with her team's grit and killer instinct to put the match away.
"We have a way we want to play, and we want it to be consistent no matter who the opponent is or where we're playing," Cardwell said. "We've been working on that mental aspect quite a bit, and it's starting to show up."
Throughout the match, Cardwell said just about every aspect of the Buffs' game was spot on, which during the nonconference season wasn't exactly the case. Granted, Estacada isn't the team that Crook County, Banks, Ridgeview or Mountain View is, but the fact remained that Madras put together strings of points when they needed to for really the first time all year.
"Our hitting was excellent," Cardwell said. "Everything came together. Pretty much every element of our game was good."
The win gave Madras (1-0 TVC, 1-8) its first win of the season in a match that had gone the regulation three sets.
Buffs rip through pool play in Sisters
At the Sisters tournament on Saturday, the Buffs went a perfect 6-0 through pool play, only to meet an all too familiar foe in the bracket round.
The Buffs exited the tournament after losing to Banks for the second time this year, but their play during pool play was one for the books, Cardwell said.
Madras led the tournament in point differential during pool play, beating opponents by a combined 72 points, and at one point, scored 17 straight points behind the nasty serves of Shelby Mauritson.
Madras defeated Yamhill-Carlton, Newberg and North Bend in pool play to gain the top seed into bracket play. The Buffs drew Banks, however, and lost to the Braves 25-19, 25-13.
Given the lack of success Madras has had against the Braves in previous years, Cardwell thinks there's a little bit of a mental block with her team and opponents like the Braves.
"It's definitely something we're trying to work on and address," Cardwell said. "We need to be completely oblivious to what the other team has on their jersey, and just play."
The most important thing Cardwell said about her team is how they keep improving with every match.
"We seem to learn quite a bit when we go back and process what happens after a loss," Cardwell said. "I'm proud of them for doing that."
Throughout the tournament, Madras middle blocker Alexis Urbach went nuts at the net with a .452 hitting percentage and 35 kills. Mauritson was nearly as impressive with 25 kills and a .407 hitting percentage. She also chipped in 32 digs to help out defensively.
Keely Brown contributed 25 digs in a solid defensive effort all day for the Buffs.
The Buffs are at Aurora to take on North Marion on Thursday in a Tri-Valley Conference match.