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Wildcats swept Crescent Valley to qualify for state tournament at Liberty for second straight year

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Lindsey Hartford, Ashli Edmiston, Kennedy Juranek and Gracie Thompson celebrate during the third set of Wilsonville's 3-0 win over Crescent Valley Saturday.

Wilsonville's volleyball team is going back to Liberty.

The No. 2 Wildcats swept No. 15 Crescent Valley 3-0 Saturday to advance to the Class 5A quarterfinals for the second straight year.

"It's super exciting," senior Lindsey Hartford said. "I'm really looking forward to what this team can accomplish."

As the No. 4 seed in last year's state tournament, Wilsonville went 0-2. But the Wildcats returned to Liberty this season to win a tournament on Oct. 12.

"Since we won that tournament at Liberty a few weeks back, we have good memories there now and I think that's what we need to remember going into these games, stay positive," Hartford said. "We're just thinking we don't want a repeat of last year and how we can do even better this year and have so much potential."

While last year's state tournament was the first for all of Wilsonville's players, Ashli Edmiston went as a freshman.

"I'm so excited. We worked so hard for this moment and it's going to be amazing," Edmiston said. "It was a really good experience to get us in the gym and see what it's like over there. Now that we know, we'll have it dialed in. It will feel a little bit more like home court because we had a tournament (this season) there, too."

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Wilsonville senior Kennedy Juranek digs a ball Saturday against Crescent Valley.

Wilsonville dominated the first set against Crescent Valley as Tatum Lubisich's kill finished off the Raiders 25-12.

But Crescent Valley jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the second game, before the Wildcats roared back to win 25-18 and take a 2-0 lead.

"They scrambled very well," Wilsonville coach Nathan Blankenship said of the Raiders. "I was very impressed with their serving. They put a lot of pressure on us, but we managed to get enough momentum to get into system. Our ability to recover to get back into system on offense was really good. I'm very happy with that."

Wilsonville then took the third set 25-20.

"Our middles really turned it on tonight," Hartford said. "They played really well. We established the middles and that freed up the outsides. That really helped. We were able to mix up our attack."

The Wildcats will open play in the state tournament on Friday at 3:15 p.m. against No. 10 Thurston.

"I think we're playing well," Blankenship said. "We're playing with good control and tenacity. There was no let up. We stayed in our game the entire way. I'm very happy and very confident that we'll do well at Liberty."

Derek Wiley
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