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The Bucks shut down the visiting Cougars in straight sets to set up a final four appearance against Damascus Christian

ST. PAUL, Ore.—After downing the Central Christian Tigers 3-1 in the second round of the state playoffs, the St. Paul volleyball program turned its attention to a different large cat in the state quarterfinals. The No. 2 seeded Bucks hosted the No. 7 seeded Echo Cougars on Tuesday, Nov. 2 in a showdown of league champions; St. Paul went 14-0 in the Casco League and Echo went 11-0 in the Big Sky League.

Both teams came in riding double digit win streaks, but St. Paul proved it was the superior team with a decisive 3-0 victory, sweeping with scores of 25-11, 25-16, and 25-21.

"This match was a total team effort," St. Paul head coach Lesli Hiller said. "Great digging, setting hitting and serving by everyone. (It was) our most solid match yet."

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - St. Pauls Halsie Hempfling gets one of her three kills against the visiting Echo Cougars in the state quarterfinals on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

In the first set St. Paul leapt out to an 8-2 lead through 10 points, and then 16-4 through 20 points. Echo would go a five-point run late in the set but it was too little too late and the home team walked away with a dominant 1-0 lead. Sets two and three were closer, but St. Paul was undeterred in its victory.

Leading the way for the St. Paul was sophomore Gracie Koch with 18 assists and seven digs; Junior Anabelle Davidson hit 18/19 with nine kills and four blocks, and sophomore Stella Koch hit 23/28 with seven kills, seven blocks and one ace while serving. Senior Ainsley Goughnour served 14/16 with an ace and four assists. Sophomore Meredith Coleman had six kills and junior Halsie Hempfling had three kills.

St. Paul (29-4) will face off against The Valley 10 League's Damascus Christian (22-5) in the state semifinals at Corvallis High School on Friday, Nov. 5.

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