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Cougars play at Sprague Saturday in second round, winner advances to state tournament

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Canby junior Daley McClellan had 28 kills Wednesday night against Grant in the first round of the Class 6A volleyball playoffs.

Canby took care of business Wednesday night.

The No. 11 Cougars swept No. 22 Grant 3-0 in the first round of the Class 6A volleyball playoffs.

"Tonight was awesome," Canby coach T. J. Schlatter said. "We did exactly what we needed to do and now we've got work to do."

After edging Grant 25-18 in the first set, Canby got stronger as the match went along, winning the second game 25-13 and the third 25-10.

"Everyone was a little tight going in because we hadn't done this before," Canby senior Ruby Kayser said. "To get that off our chest is going to be really good. "After the first set especially, we were playing for each other and I think that's the best part of the postseason is we know this could be our last game, so people start to play for each other and not worry about anything else," Kayser said. "We were going hard for each other and there was a lot of positivity and confidence."

Before Wednesday, the Cougars last playoff win came in 2010 when Canby defeated Westview 3-2 in the first round.

"The big goal was to get this one," Schlatter said. "For this group, I really wanted that for them because they deserve it and they're good enough to be up there and have a chance to fight through and get into the top eight."

Kayser had 40 assists and five aces in her final home match at Canby.

"Ruby did a really good job of moving the offense around," Schlatter said. "Daphne (Kropf) had a lot more attempts and kills tonight. We're using the middles more. She did a good job of not just relying on Daley, which can be a strength for us moving forward."

Daley McClellan recorded 28 kills.

"It felt a lot bigger," McClellan said of the playoffs. "We need to prepare more for this, and we need to stay focused and just more serious going on. We stayed positive and stayed together as a team and we just gradually got better throughout the game."

The Cougars will play at No. 6 Sprague this Saturday at 6 p.m. in the second round of the playoffs. The winner then advances to the state tournament at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

Canby and Sprague have history.

When Canby last advanced to the state tournament in 2009, it was Sprague who the Cougars defeated in the second round in five sets.

Canby also beat the Olympians 2-0 this season in pool play of the West Linn tournament on Oct. 19, but Sprague was missing senior middle blocker Madi Chuhlantseff.

"It's a team we know we can at least play with," Schlatter said. "We shouldn't go in intimidated. We should go in ready to work. They're very good. They've got a big time player (outside hitter Bridgette Smith). They've got a lot of pieces. They don't have a lot of weaknesses."

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