Roseburg turned the Grizzlies into victims for the second time this preseason, outplaying and overmatching the home team to the tune of a 25-16, 25-21, 25-12 win. The Indians, currently ranked ninth in the 6A associated press poll, improved to 7-0 on the season and dropped Ashland to 1-3.
A rhetorical question by Ashland High girls volleyball coach Jodee Scott best summed up the Grizzlies' Thursday evening.
"Did that look like the same team tonight?" Scott asked, pondering her team's sweep of Grants Pass just two days earlier.
The answer, on both sides of the net, was a resounding "no."
Roseburg turned the Grizzlies into victims for the second time this season, outplaying and overmatching the home team to the tune of a 25-16, 25-21, 25-12 win.
The Indians, currently ranked ninth in the 6A associated press poll, improved to 7-0 and dropped Ashland to 1-3.
"They're a really tough team," Scott said, "but we didn't even give them a good game to let them show it tonight."
On the contrary, the Indians left little doubt that they were worth every bit of their ranking. Ahead 13-9 in the first game, the Roseburg took 10 of the next 13 points for a commanding 23-12 lead, while Ashland looked out of synch with four early in-the-net calls.
The slow start provoked Scott to replace reigning Southern Sky Conference all-star Kiley Pinder at setter with junior reserve Drew Van Vleck. Pinder, one of Ashland's five seniors, didn't return until the end of the third game.
Van Vleck responded with 14 assists, and senior Taylor Hartrick and junior Niki Small paced the Grizzlies with six kills apiece.
"I thought we needed a change. The balls (set) to the outside were a bit off," Scott said. "Both (setters) are pretty good, so we'll see who works harder and plays better in practice before Tuesday."
Three of Small's kills came in a second-game rally that proved to be Ashland's best chance to get back into the match. Trailing 19-12, Ashland went on a 9-2 run that was capped by an Asia Kane kill, forcing Roseburg to take their only timeout of the match.
The Indians responded by taking the next four points, and then the first five of the final game, and never looked back.
Ashland was able to cut the third-game deficit to 16-12 when Kane and Hartrick teamed up for a block, but didn't score again.
Roseburg outside hitters Devin Belshe and Cadee Kinne had match-high kill totals of 18 and 13, respectively. Setter Lynsey Johnson had 23 assists and Katelyn Powers chipped in nine kills.
"Roseburg is definitely one of the better teams in the state, but that doesn't make it any less disappointing," said Small.
"We started off slow tonight; our aggressiveness wasn't there and we lacked focus," she added. "But I think we're going to come back from this."
Ashland still holds the No. 2 spot in the class 5A rankings but is slated to face an even stiffer challenge — at least on paper — on Tuesday, when sixth-ranked North Medford, also of the 6A variety, will pay a visit to its former Southern Oregon Conference rivals.
Scott said a different Grizzlies squad will have to show up if they hope to contend with a 4-0 Tornado team.
"We need remember the feeling that we didn't leave everything on the court," she said. "It's not a great feeling, and it's definitely not something we want to experience again."