Damascus Christian volleyball sweeps Umpqua Valley, beats Rogue Valley Adventist to earn state title berth
Damascus Christian volleyball's team continued its reign of dominance at the 1A level in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the 1A state tournament on Friday, Nov. 4. The Eagles breezed by Umpqua Valley Christian 3-0 (25-7, 25-15, 25-18) in the 8 a.m. game, and then overcame Rogue Valley Adventist Academy 3-2 (25-13, 22-25, 25-16, 16-25, 15-7) to earn a shot at the 1A title.
Winning games is the norm and there is no exception. Damascus Christian has run up a 36-0 record over the course of the season, only giving up seven sets in that time. Two of those sets came in the team's penultimate game, the 3-2 win over Rogue Valley Adventist.
After the win over Umpqua Valley Christian, coach Emily Russau acknowledged that at this point, finishing the season a perfect 37-0 was the only thing left to do.
"We have two more games, we started through this whole season and it's been one game at a time with the end-goal in mind," Russau said. "We're here at the end. We just have to take two more games. Our goal and our hope is to have a perfect record."
Part of the team's sustained success over the years has been the development of players at the elementary school level who have risen through the ranks to take their place on the Eagles varsity squad, according to Russau. Led by seniors Sierra Hale, Abbigayle Bailey and Julia Mitchell, the junior heavy team is replete with youth waiting to break through.
"This is the third time we've been to state," Russau said. "In our COVID year, we would have made state. But we've made the playoffs the last nine years. We've made the state playoffs. We've built the program from the elementary up and we're seeing the fruits of the elementary players now in high school."
Damascus Christian (35-0) will face off against North Douglas (25-10) for the state title at 6 p.m. North Douglas, the defending state champions, defeated St. Paul 3-1 to reach the championship game. Damascus Christian and North Douglas faced each other on Oct. 15, with the Eagles taking away a 3-1 win at the time.
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