The Ashland High volleyball team scored 16 of the last 20 points to complete a dominating, three-set, nonleague victory over South Medford on Tuesday at South Medford High School.
MEDFORD — The Ashland High volleyball team scored 16 of the last 20 points to complete a dominating, three-set, nonleague victory over South Medford on Tuesday at South Medford High School.
The Grizzlies, who have won four of their last five matches after starting the season 0-2, won 25-22, 25-13, 25-17.
Senior outside hitter Shelby Minor had seven kills and sophomore setter Jordan Tilley 21 assists for the Grizzlies (4-3). Junior middle Madeline Wallace had five kills and sophomore middle Hope Baldrica four.
After cruising through the first two sets, Ashland found itself in a 13-9 hole in the third following a kill by South's Liz DeVaughn. A miss-hit by South Medford (3-6) gave the next point to the Grizzlies and two points later Phoebe Challman's ace cut the Panthers' lead to 13-12. Ashland tied the Panthers on another miss-hit and took the lead for good, 16-15, on a spike to the floor by Minor. That kill was part of a seven-point run by the Grizzlies that turned a 15-14 deficit into a 21-15 lead.
"I feel like we came together as a team really well tonight, and that's something that we've kind have been on a roller coaster with," Ashland head coach Robin Akpan said. "Even though we didn't have a high number of kills, we had some solid serving and just some solid team play — ball control — tonight. And that's what made the difference in the third game."
Ashland used a long rally to pull away in the second set as well, scoring seven straight points on Madison Douglas' serve to stretch an already comfortable 12-7 lead to 19-7. Douglas had a block and Baldrica a kill in the spurt, which was capped when senior libero Amanda Wurzell painted the service line with a back-row spike.
Wurzell later added an ace to make it 24-11, and the Grizzlies took a two-sets-to-none lead on another Panthers' miscue.
The opening game was the most competitive of the match. Ashland went ahead 7-4, then South came back to tie it at 14-all and went ahead 17-16 on a kill by senior middle Bree Polk. The Grizzlies won six of the next seven points, including two on kills by Minor, to jump in front, 22-18. They never trailed again.
The Panthers got within 24-22 on back-to-back Grizz miss-hits, but a lift violation floored the Panthers' comeback attempt.
Ashland's serve receive continued to show improvement after some early-season struggles hamstrung the Grizzlies, particularly during a costly Southern Oregon Hybrid loss to Eagle Point on Sept. 11.
"It's been our focus," Akpan said. "We started our warm-ups with serve receive "…so we realize that we need to be able to start off the game already in our routine of serve receive and have focused on it."
Akpan also praised Minor, who has emerged as Ashland's most consistent hitter.
"Shelby's leading us in our attacks right now," she said, "and then the nice thing is that Jordan Tilley's doing a great job of dispersing out to our middles and using our right sides a little bit more, too, so we can free Shelby up sometimes and not always put a solid block on her."
Diego Harrison scored three goals to lift Ashland to a 4-1 nonconference win over Roseburg at North Mountain Park on Tuesday.
Harrison sandwiched a penalty kick in the 10th minute and a 30-yard power goal around a score by Zahara Moyers-Cullumbine to give the Grizzlies (2-2) a 3-0 halftime lead.
Harrison then scored 10 minutes into the second half.