PHS volleyball
BRAD FUQUA, PHILOMATH EXPRESS

The Philomath High School volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of a tournament Saturday at Seaside.

After splitting with Banks in pool play, the Warriors went into a quarterfinal match against fellow Oregon West Conference member North Marion and came away with a 25-23, 25-17 victory.

Philomath then faced Dallas, a Class 5A school that the Warriors had beaten somewhat easily in a Sept. 16 tournament. This time around, Dallas pulled out a 22-25, 25-11, 15-6 win.

"It was pretty heartbreaking because we weren't worried about Dallas and had systemic failure," PHS coach Denee Newton said. "We faced adversity ... we talked about it and it's back to the drawing board."

Philomath (18-3) had hoped to advance to the championship match for a shot at Valley Catholic, a team sitting at No. 2 in the OSAA rankings.

The adversity Newton mentioned revolved around the setter position. Ella Skinkis wasn't able to play in Saturday's matches and Hailey Matthews suffered a knee injury in the match against Dallas. Although Newton said Joelle Berger stepped into the position and performed well, the team overall couldn't recover. The Warriors were also missing regular starter Emma Pankalla.

Philomath, who is ranked No. 5 by the OSAA, will host senior night Tuesday against Yamhill-Carlton. As conference champions, the Warriors will then be off until Oct. 28 for the first round of the 4A playoffs, a welcomed break to help mend some injuries. That first-round match will be played at PHS.

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