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MHS seniors go for their last ride through the Buffalo Dome against Gladstone

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Madras senior Jessica Bruised Head, front, leads the White Buffalos for one last charge on Senior Night.On Monday night, Madras volleyball held its Senior Night to commemorate the five players who will be graduating in the summer. In the end, Gladstone walked away with a 25-8, 25-12, 25-13 victory over the White Buffalos. However, while the team was unable to grab one final victory in front of the home crowd, the players' postgame tears had little to do with the result.

"Excited, happy, sad obviously," said Madras senior Maddy Johnson after the match about all the emotions coursing through her as she left the Buffalo Dome court one last time.

As she spoke, the student section — dressed in their bleached best for a 'White Out' theme — met the team on the court for long hugs and impromptu photo shoots. Some players visited with family members who came in from out of town for the occasion, armed to the teeth with shiny balloons and glittery signage for the departing seniors.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Before the match, there was a drum circle performance from War Face, a group based out of Warm Springs.Before the match, the seniors gathered at midcourt with their families as part of their final pregame introduction. Then, the Madras girls presented the Gladstone seniors with flowers and gifts so that they did not feel left out. Prior to the national anthem, there was a drum circle performance by War Face, a group out of Warm Springs, to celebrate the seniors. In addition to Johnson, other Madras seniors on the volleyball team include Jessica Bruised Head, Alexa La Pier, Taylor Olson and Christina Thomas.

"I've played volleyball for seven years, so it's going to be different not having volleyball every day," said Johnson about moving on from the sport she loves. "I'm glad I had an opportunity to play with these girls. It's a great group, and it's going to take this program places we've never seen it go before."

The young foundation already playing varsity for Madras includes current juniors Matty Buck, Yvonne Greene and Illiana Hance, as well as sophomores KayDee Abendschein, Kinlee Baggett and Maija Poland. In addition to the promoting player from the junior varsity team also plans to begin working with its sister team at the middle school to build a stronger pipeline of experienced players into the MHS volleyball system.

"I think it's a really good idea to implement the middle school into what we're doing here," said Johnson, who plans to help with the group once it gets started. "That way we have some fluidity throughout the programs."

As for parting memories of her time in the Buffalo Dome, Johnson noted one in particular — a recent practice with her teammates.

"The last practice was really fun," Johnson said. "We play this game called 'USA' at the end of every practice, and it's just something I know I'm going to remember for years to come. We have a lot of fun playing that game, and it's just a great memory."

With Monday's result, as well as last Thursday's 25-10, 25-14, 25-13 loss to Corbett, the White Buffalos move to 1-12 overall on the season and 0-8 in Tri-Valley play. Their season concludes on Wednesday, Oct. 20, with a trip to face North Marion (11-6, 8-1). The Huskies could move into a tie for first place in the TVC with a win. The match is set to begin at 6 p.m. at North Marion High School.

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