Prep Volleyball: Previewing the 2A state playoff field
The 2A State Playoffs are set to get underway on Saturday, Oct. 30, with the first round of action being held at the home gyms of the higher-seeded teams.
No. 1 Salem Academy (23-2, 11-0) comes in as the favorite to win it all after going undefeated in Tri-River play. That was no small feat by the Crusaders, considering that league put three teams into the playoffs this postseason. Salem Academy will host No. 16 Lakeview (10-9, 8-2) in the opening round. The Honkers took second place in the Southern Cascade League after starting the season with a 1Â-5 record.
Elsewhere in that quarter of the bracket, No. 8 Bonanza (18-8, 9-1) and No. 9 Lowell (17-7, 11-3) square off. Bonanza won the Southern Cascade League, setting the Antlers up for a potential rematch with Lakeview in the second round. Lowell was second in the Central Valley Conference and put together an eight-match winning streak earlier in the season.
Further down this side of the tournament, No. 4 Grant Union (21-10, 10-2) starts their road to the state title with a tilt against No. 13 Sheridan (13-5, 10-2). The Prospectors earned the top seed out of the Blue Mountain Conference after winning their district tournament on the road against Stanfield. Sheridan, meanwhile, lost their Tri-River tournament match against Culver but had a high enough ranking to earn an at-large bid to the playoffs.
Rounding out the left side of the bracket is a matchup between No. 5 Vernonia (19-5, 11-5) and No. 12 Reedsport (21-8, 9-3). The Loggers went undefeated in non-league play before struggling to the third-best record in the Northwest League; however, a torrid run through the district tournament gave Vernonia the league's top seed and home-court advantage against Reedsport. The Brave finished second in the Sunset Conference.
The top team on the other side is No. 2 Gaston (19-1, 16-0), the unchallenged champions of the Northwest League. The Greyhounds were enjoying an undefeated season until they were upset on their home court by Vernonia in the district tournament. As a result, Gaston faces No. 15 Oakridge (17-10, 9-5) in the first round. The Warriors finished third in Central Valley Conference and earned an at-large bid thanks to their healthy OSAA ranking following the season.
Battling for the right to take on the winner of Gaston-Oakridge, No. 7 Stanfield (19-4, 11-1) and No. 10 Portland Christian (14-6, 13-3) both pose a threat to make a deep run. Stanfield had the best record in the Blue Mountain Conference but fell to Grant Union in the district title match. Portland Christian, on the other hand, grabbed the third seed from the Northwest League. Over the past 11 matches, the Royals' only two losses came to Gaston and Vernonia, the league's other playoff squads.
Leading the final quadrant is No. 3 Monroe (19-3, 14-0) after the Dragons pieced together an unblemished run to the Central Valley Conference title. Out to slay them will be No. 14 Culver (12-9, 9-3), which earned the second seed out of the Tri-River Conference by virtue of beating Sheridan. The Bulldogs bounced back from a skid of three straight losses, winning five matches in a row to clinch their bid before falling to Salem Academy in the district championship.
Finally, No. 6 Coquille (17-3, 12-0) also ran through their league undefeated, winning the Sunset Conference by three games over Reedsport. The Red Devils will face No. 11 Union, the third team out of the Blue Mountain Conference. The Bobcats earned an at-large bid thanks in part to a high RPI number due to playing a number of highly-ranked 1A schools in their geographic region.
The quarterfinal round of the 2A State Playoffs will also be held at the home gyms of higher-seeded teams on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The bracket is not reseeded between rounds. The final rounds will be held at Ridgeview High School in Redmond on Nov. 5-6.
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