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Madras tops Gladstone on the road, keyed by a 28-26 win set No. 3; showing strong improvement as season nears end

LON AUSTIN  - Yvonne Greene, shown here earlier in the season, had the best match of her career Wednesday in helping the Buffs beat Gladstone. She was one of several Buffalo players who had solid performances. Madras volleyball was winless in Tri-Valley Conference action heading into Wednesday's tilt at Gladstone, and 1-12 overall.

The left Gladstone with a league victory for a happy bus ride home following a 15-25, 25-15, 28-26, 25-10 win over the Gladiators.

White Buffalo coach Frank Maynard was understandably happy with the victory.

"After the first set, the team really dug in and performed. Mistakes were cut by two-thirds over previous matches. No one player stood out, they all just did their parts better than they have all season," said the coach.

The match started out as most have for Madras this season: disappointing. The Gladiators got the comfortable 25-15 win in set one. But the Buffs got some confidence by taking the second set by that same big margin.

Set three was the difference. Freshman Checkers Quinto was at the service line for the win when she hit back-to-back serves that hit the tape and fell to the floor for Madras points to secure the win.

After the tough season Madras has endured, they were due for some good luck. Ahead 2-1, they weren't about to let the win slip away. They put the hammer on in the fourth and deciding set for the win.

Maynard was eager to praise his squad. He noted that Quinto and Miriam Egoavil, both defensive specialists, passed well in the match. Sophomore middle hitter Breanna Lacey and fellow sophomore hitter from the right side, Breann Heckathorn, had strong games.

Juniors Illiana Baza and Rianna Simmons are both out with injuries, but junior setter KayDee Abendschein was very steady, making correct decision after correct decision as to who got the ball next, said the coach.

Maynard was very proud of his seniors, led by Captain Matty Buck, who "produced the best game of the last two years," and Yvonne Greene, who "had the best game of her career, picking apart the opposing defense."

Senior middle Illiana Hance had nine kills at key times and senior setter Raylene Alire chased everything down and got the ball to our hitters where they made the best of it.

Maynard also praised senior libero Kinlee Baggett, stepping in for injured players and playing only her third game as a libero. The coach said Baggett had "no attack errors, only two serve receive errors, passed at .110 and missed no serves. Her calm demeanor helped keep the team centered and on task."

In their first 10 matches, Madras was 1-29 in sets. In their last four matches — which included a pair of two-set matches in the Junction City Tournament Oct. 1, where Madras got its first win of the year —they are 7-6.

The Buffs' next match is on the road Oct. 11 against The Dalles Riverhawks, ranked fourth in the state as of Oct. 6.

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