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Trojans reach semifinals for the fourth time in the past five seasons, fall 3-2 to eventual-champion Portland Christian

PHIL HAWKINS - The Kennedy volleyball team qualified for the 2A state semifinals for the fourth time in the past five seasons, falling 3-2 to the eventual-champion Portland Christian Royals. The Trojans went on to finish fifth overall at the state tournament.
It seemed almost too similar to be real.

After putting together an incredible run in the regular season, the Kennedy volleyball team rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the semifinals to force a fifth set, only to fall in heartbreaking fashion.

Although Kennedy (28-3, 16-0 Tri-River Conference) fell short of the team's ultimate goal to play for a state championship for the second time in school history, the Trojans nonetheless wrapped a stellar season in which the team qualified for the quarterfinal tournament for the sixth time in the past seven seasons, finishing fifth overall.

It was a near mirror image of last year's semifinal match for Kennedy, which lost in five sets against eventual champion Grant Union in the semifinals.

Facing off in the semifinals on Friday against a Portland Christian team the Trojans had beaten on their home court earlier in the season, the Royals won the opening two sets 26-24, 25-21 to put Kennedy's collective backs up against the wall.

The Trojans responded in furious fashion, winning the next two sets 25-13, 25-19 to force a decisive fifth set.

Portland Christian took an early 8-4 lead only for Kennedy to come storming back and go up 11-9.

The two teams traded points, going into the final point tied at 13-13, where the Royals forced game point, but the Trojans answered to square the score up again at 14-14.

But Kennedy could not withstand the Royals any longer, and Portland Christian took the next two points to claim the victory and a trip to the state finals, where they went on to be crowned 2018 champions.

In Saturday's consolation final, the Trojans took the first set against former league rival Central Linn, but the Cobras struck back in the next three to take the victory 3-1 (16-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-18).

Kennedy opened the tournament with a 3-0 win (25-12, 25-10, 25-22) over the Glide Wildcats.

The Trojans' fifth-place finish marked the fourth time in the past five seasons Kennedy has advanced to the state semifinals.

Phil Hawkins can be reached at 503-765-1194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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