Century's volleyball season ends at Westview in state playoffs first round
The Century volleyball team went where they'd never gone before, but despite being defeated by No. 10-ranked Westview in the first round of the OSAA state playoffs, head coach Melissa Salness had nothing but pride for her team in the wake of their postseason defeat.
"Last August the girls came up with three long term goals: maintain a positive record, finish in the top three of our league, and make it to playoffs. They achieved all three of these and I couldn't be more proud of them," Salness said. "Through COVID restrictions and injuries, they managed to stay focused on these goals and have had great success together."
Westview jumped on the Jaguars early in their match Wednesday night, Oct. 27, taking quick and significant leads en route to a 25-18, 25-18, 25-7 straight set victory. The Wildcats were led by junior Alize Bakker's 12 kills and 10 blocks, along with Taylor Guerra and Natalie Perez Parra who tallied 13 assists apiece.
Salness said she was impressed by the individual performances of Century's Tehani Militante, Tehya Militante, and middle blocker Kiomi Tanakura, who she said made significant contributions in defeat, but also the bulk of her team who competed despite struggling with consistency and focus early on.
"We didn't play to our potential," the coach said. "We struggled to stay consistent and to be focused, however it was our first time in the playoffs and we played a very talented Westview team who controlled the speed of the game."
Westview finished second in the formidable Metro League, suffering only losses to No. 3-ranked Jesuit in league competition. Salness knew they'd have their hands full heading into the match, and with that in mind was less bothered by the loss and more pleased with her team's performance over the entirety of the season.
"They (Century) are seen as the underdogs constantly because of their height and the program's history over the last six years, however the last three years, most of these girls have played together and grown to become a strong unit," she said. "I'm incredibly proud of them and the journey they've taken together not just this year, but the last few years. They deserve all the success they earned."
The Jaguars lose seven seniors to graduation, but Salness said the team's younger players are eager to step up in the wake of their departure. But while next year will look different, the coach said this year will always be special for her because of where this team started, and where they finished — in the state playoffs.
"This team was a family and bonded deeply," Salness said. "I'm sad the season is over, but I feel overjoyed and blessed to have been able to spend so much time with them as their coach. I'm thankful to have been a part of that growth in this team."
No. 9-ranked Sheldon defeated Glencoe 25-20, 25-7, 25-19. The Fighting Irish were led by Keira Vaughn's 14 kills and six digs, while the Tide were paced by Elizabeth Levik's nine kills and Reese Morgan's 11 assists.
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