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The Valiants dispatch Sutherlin in three games in the Class 4A state playoffs

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Valley Catholic junior Lizzy Osborn and Regan Dean combined for 33 of the Valiants 42 kills.

Valley Catholic showed why it’s the top ranked team in the state last Saturday evening as the host Valiants quickly dispatched of Sutherlin in the opening round of the OSAA 4A Volleyball State Playoffs.

Outside hitters Regan Dean and Lizzy Osborn combined for 33 of Valley Catholic’s 42 kills in the Valiants convincing 25-15, 25-14, 25-10 victory over the Bulldogs.

Valley Catholic, which improved to 20-4 on the season, will take on ninth-ranked Tillamook - a team the Valiants have beat three times already this season - in tomorrow’s quarterfinals at Forest Grove High School. The match is set to begin at 1:15 p.m.

“(Tillamook) is a good team and it’s hard to beat a good team four times in a row,” said Valley Catholic Head Coach Becky Kemper. “It’s one match at a time.

The Valiants finished fourth at state last season and are hungry for a championship.

On Saturday, they used a noticeable size advantage to put Sutherlin on its heels for most of the match.

“We used our intimidation a little bit tonight,” said senior middle blocker Brenna Barton, who continued her stellar play with a pair of blocks.

“I was really proud of how we put everything out there. You never really know what’s going to happen when you play a team you’ve never seen before.”

Sutherlin, who finished its season at 13-9, showed some mettle and hung with Valley Catholic early. The first set was tied at 10 before the Valiants took control.

Dean’s emphatic spike just inside the back line put an exclamation point on Valley Catholic’s 15-5 run to end the set.

“Going in we felt really confident, but we didn’t overlook this game,” said Dean. “We came in ready to play and ready to play hard.”

“The minute we stepped on the court we went hard and never stopped. We play for each other and that is one reason we have a lot of success.”

Dean filled up the stat sheet with a game-high 21 kills, six digs and two blocks, but knows Valley Catholic still has room to get better as they push for a state title.

“I think the number one thing we can improve on is our serving,” she added. “Often times we are a little bit inconsistent. Our serving and our passing game are what will bring us to the next level.”

Osborn finished with 12 kills and sophomore Kayla Robbins added six.

“We took advantage of the fact that they had a short setter,” continued Kemper. “I told my big hitters let’s go right over that. They had fun with it.”

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