Corvallis High was far from its best Thursday night but still strong enough to knock off one of its top league rivals.
The Spartans started slowly, dominated the second set and won close battles in the third and fourth without their top hitter to take round one against Lebanon, last year’s state runner-up.
Set scores were 20-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-20.
Corvallis sophomore Ryann Gregg, a returning 5A first team all-state player, suffered a calf cramp early in the third set and couldn’t provide much offense the rest of the way.
“The girls have to believe that one person isn’t going to have the final say in what can happen,” CHS coach Steve Hyre said.
Lebanon was also not at full strength. The Warriors were without standout Lauren Christie, another first team all-state selection who didn’t play after suffering an ankle injury early in Tuesday’s match against Dallas.
Gregg finished with 17 kills. Tanya Sisson stepped up and had 10 kills. Nevaeh Bray added seven more and Taylor Silbernagel also provided some key hits.
Setter Kylynn Quinn had 26 assists and added 11 digs in the back row.
After his team lost the first set, Hyre switched from a 6-2 formation to 5-1, using one setter instead of two.
“The consistency and maturity that Kylynn brings setting and decision-making,” the coach said, “but I let my freshman setter (Hanna Jones) know she’s still going to get her opportunities. She played great defensively in the back.”
Jones filled in for several matches in recent weeks when Quinn suffered an ankle injury. Quinn returned for Tuesday’s match against Crescent Valley, sharing duties with Jones.
Quinn said Thursday that even though the team got off to a rough start, the players knew they had to mentally check back into the match.
They did that well in the second set, with the Spartans (2-0 MWC) jumping ahead 7-2, 11-4 and 16-7. The Warriors (1-1) got no closer than seven from there.
Lebanon forced Corvallis to rally in the final two sets.
The Spartans used a 6-0 run to lead 13-5 and later 17-7. Both teams struggled in their passing, and it caught up to the Warriors in the final two sets.
Sisson and Silbernagel had kills in a 5-0 run to close within five. Allie Watts had a block in another 5-0 run that got Corvallis within two.
The Spartans still trailed 22-20 before they took control. Bray and Quinn had tips for scores and Sisson a kill before Lebanon sent a shot into the net to finish the set.
The fourth set went back and forth before Cheyenne Whitebird’s three straight kills put Lebanon ahead 15-12. The Warriors led 17-15 before the Spartans found their momentum again.
A 7-0 run included two kills apiece from Bray and Sisson and two Gregg aces made it 22-17. A Bray tip put Corvallis up 23-19 before two Lebanon passing errors ended the match.
Malia Johnson was strong at the serving line, going 18 of 21 with four aces.
The Spartans have had two competitive matches to open Mid-Willamette play. They go to Dallas next Tuesday.
“I think it’s good for our team because it really tests and pushes us to see how high we can go and how well we can play,” Quinn said.
Last year, the two teams shared the Mid-Willamette title at 13-1 while splitting two matches between themselves and not allowing a set to the rest of the league.
Lebanon finished second at the state tournament and Corvallis fifth.
Lebanon returns seven players off last year’s varsity roster and Corvallis four. Quinn was first team all-conference and Lebanon’s Bri Marquez second team.