Gaston volleyball remains undefeated
The season came fast, but Gaston has hit the ground running.
The Greyhounds volleyball team is undefeated through six games. They've beaten Knappa, Neah-Kah-Nie, Vernonia, Colton, and now Nestucca twice.
Gaston defeated the Bobcats for a second time Wednesday night, March 17, at Gaston High School, and did so 25-8, 25-9, 25-18. It was the sixth consecutive win for the Greyhounds, each of which has been in straight sets.
Head coach Melody McMasters said she's excited about the team and its performance thus far, but isn't surprised despite a roster with only one senior.
"We're very young, but we're also very balanced," McMasters said. "We have the middle hitters that are doing their blocking and hitting, outside players that are hitting and covering the court where they need to, and a bunch of defensive players that are not allowing the ball to hit the ground. Things are going well."
Last year's team finished 17-9 overall and earned a trip to the state playoffs, where they were defeated by Union in straight sets. They lost three seniors to graduation, including all-league honoree Hannah Farmer, but return fellow all-leaguer Maya Rosenberg, standout Mackenzie Berger, and a slew of young talent that's beginning to filter-in from their Gaston club team.
"We have players now who are starting in the third grade," McMasters said. "So, these girls are able to get a lot of touches on the ball before they ever get to the high school level and that matters. I believe we're starting to reap those benefits."
Among others, McMasters mentioned setters Sarina Kintz and freshman Lexi Fern, Berger and Grace Smith in the middle, and in the back-end freshmen duo Cayden Henderson and Anna Wismer, along with team captain Madi Bentley, who the coach said has really stepped up this season.
"She's (Madi Bentley) got it figured out," McMasters said. "She's not going to be outworked and gives a hundred percent whether it's practice or game time. She's a great leader."
McMasters wanted to note that senior Shasta Rasmussen is too with the team and was honored on Senior Night despite having to split time between on and off-the-court responsibilities.
"She's such a great athlete and just a great person," the coach said. "We're making it work for her to be a part of this team."
The Northwest League is going to have a league championship tournament and the Gaston coach is excited for that, but she also can't help but be a little saddened by the fact that this season won't offer a state tournament — something she said her team was capable of qualifying for.
"This team and these players have every component needed to make it to a higher level," she said. "Luckily, almost all of them will be here next year to give it another go."
The Greyhounds travel to Knappa for a game with the Loggers next Tuesday, then will host Neah-Kah-Nie at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 25.
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