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The Greyhounds defeated Nestucca in straight sets Oct. 22, and now head to the state playoffs as the league's No. 1-seed.

COURTESY PHOTO - Back row left to right: assistant coach Brittany Janssens, Kaylee Spaulding, Ava Dodson, Gabby Derby, Rhys Niederberger, Maya Rosenberg, Sofie Fox, Cayden Henderson, Lexi Fern, Brooklyn Blanchett, Kenzie Hardie, Grace Lucas, head coach Charity Hall. Front row: Ally Lazott.The Gaston volleyball team is heading to the state playoffs with momentum after winning the league championship this past weekend.

The Greyhounds—who cruised through the Northwest League's regular season undefeated—made quick work of Nestucca in straight sets to secure the league's number one seed Saturday, Oct. 22, at Vernonia High School.

With the win, Gaston won their 15th straight match, improved to 19-2 overall, and finished No. 3-ranked in the OSAA's 2A state rankings.

Greyhounds first-year head coach Charity Hall said afterwards that while she was understandably uneasy prior to the league playoff match with the Bobcats, her team never wavered in their belief that they would come away with a win.

"Going into the playoff game I asked the girls if they were nervous and they all said no," she said. "They were ready to take care of business from the very beginning and instilled a confidence in me as their coach that I am so thankful for. They moved as a team in every direction and I'm so proud of our overall accomplishment as league champions."

Hall said that against Nestucca the Greyhounds were led by juniors Lexi Fern and Cayden Henderson, along with seniors Maya Rosenberg and Ally Lazott, the latter of which the coach said really stepped up in what had been the team's biggest match to date.

"Ally Lazott has been a powerful outside, but struggled this year with consistency," Hall said. "I'm proud to say she put up consistent numbers in the most important game of our season yet, and the reason she was a standout wasn't necessarily because of how many kills she had, but because every time we needed something she provided it at the perfect time."

Fern—who earned first team all-league honors and was voted league MVP—finished the match with 20 assists, three kills, 13 digs and earned 14 points on serves, with one ace. Hall couldn't say enough about the junior's work throughout the season and specifically in the match versus Nestucca.

"Lexi's overall athleticism and go-get em attitude was huge," the coach said, "she hustled to every single second ball."

In addition to Fern's honors, Rosenberg and freshman Sofie Fox earned first team all-league honors, while Henderson was second team, and Lazott and sophomore Rhys Niederberger were third team honorees. Hall also was voted as the league's Coach of the Year, something she attributed to her players and their supporters.

"I want to thank my players for being coachable and all my parents for their support this year," she said.

Now Gaston awaits the playoffs which begin Saturday, Oct. 29, but while excited about what they've done, the Greyhound players are more focused on what might be to come.

"Even on our best days our girls are always looking forward," Hall said. "They're never quite satisfied until a state championship is at play, and I believe something great is in the air this year for our girls and everyone in Gaston can feel it."

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