A gathering of Eagles occurred in the Coast Range west of Philomath last Tuesday, Sept. 25. The McKenzie Eagles, hosted by the Eddyville Eagles in a Mt. West League volleyball match, defeated their gracious hosts in 3 straight sets, 25-11, 25-15, 25-18. The road-win against a confident, improved Eddyville team was a necessary step for McKenzie, the defending Mt. West League Champions, to return to the OSAA State playoffs. With Mapleton slated later in the week at Blue River, and by defeating the Sailors, the Eagles have the opportunity to continue to share company with other League leaders Lowell and Triangle Lake. Mapleton and McKenzie are quite familiar with each other already this season as both teams participated in the inaugural McKenzie RPI Volleyball Tournament the prev-ious week. In the match with Eddyville, Makaila Hiddleston continued to lead her team as she attacked with 8 kills, 4 aces, and 9 digs. Teammates Sydney King and Sarah Rux added 4 kills apiece. McKenzie servers hit a total of 22 aces in the match led by King with 7, Samantha Winningham with 5, and Hiddleston, 4. King also had 7 digs and Rux added another 4 digs. Shyla Harlan and Katey Totten each contributed 5 digs, while Peace Shepherd added 4 digs. Totten led her team with 9 assists.
Mapleton arrived in the Upper McKenzie Valley ready to ground the McKenzie Eagles in an early pivotal Mt. West League Volleyball Match, last Thursday, Sept. 27. The confident Sailors sailed in fully expecting to broadside the Defending League Champions aspirations for back to back Championships and in the first set of the day, certainly presented themselves as up to the task, defeating the Eagles 25-19. Head Coach Dan Brenner made the necessary adjustments, however, and his experienced squad responded by winning the next three sets, securing the Match win and move McKenzie (4-1) a half game out of 1st in the League standings behind Triangle Lake and Lowell, both at 5-1. But drowning the Sailor attack wasn’t easy, as Mapleton took each set down the wire, 25-22, 25-23, and 25-22. With the victory, McKenzie, with a 11-6 overall record, moved up in the current OSAA State 1A rankings to 15 place.
McKenzie’s court prize show-cased the experience of good team cooperation with several Eagle players aggressively contributing toward securing the victory. Makaila Hiddleston led her team in kills with 14, while adding 5 blocks and 7 digs. Peace Shepherd was just as aggressive at the net with 13 kills and defensively with 12 digs. Co-Captain Samantha Winningham topped her team with 20 digs and had 8 kills. Corinna Price, always tough defensively, added 15 digs. Rising to the occasion, teammates Ayshia Seiler and Katey Totten had monster efforts in the assists department with 21 and 16 respectively.
The Eagles next Mt. West League opponents are at Siletz on Monday, Oct. 1, back home in a crucial showdown with the Triangle Lake Lakers on Wednesday, Oct. 3, and at home the next evening, Thursday, Oct. 4 with the Crow Cougars. All match times are slated for 6 pm. McKenzie travels to participate in the annual Triangle Lake Volleyball Tournament the follow-ing Saturday, Oct. 6.
Eagles Take 5th at Country Christian Volleyball Tournament
McKenzie earned 5th place in the annual Country Christian Volleyball Tournament held in Mollala, last Saturday, Sept. 29. The Eagles won 5 of 7 pool play single set matches to face the Nestucca Bobcats, a 2A school representing the Northwest League. McKenzie won the match 2-1, winning the 1st set 25-11, dropping the 2nd set 20-25, and capturing the 3rd set 15-9. Against Nestucca, Corinna Price led her team with 7 kills with Makaila Hiddleston and Samantha Winningham with 6 kills apiece. Winningham also had 5 service aces and Hiddleston added 2 blocks as did Peace Shepherd. Teammate Shyla Harlan contributed 4 aces along with 7 digs. Defensively, Senior Sydney King led the Eagles with 11 digs plus she had 6 assists. Katey Totten continued to set her team up as she had 12 assists in the match.
In the preceding pool play, the Eagles beat the Bobcats 25-23, beat City Christian 25-17, lost to Country Christian 18-25, lost to Colton 17-25, beat eventual Champion Molalla 25-22, beat Southwest Christian 25-9, and beat Oregon City 25-5.
McKenzie’s Varsity 8 man Football Team pulled into Triangle Lake last Friday fully intent on leaving later in the evening at least tied at the top of the Mt. West League standings with Lowell or Crow. Lowell settled their bid for a share of the League lead by thrashing the Cougars at Crow, 64-16. As for the Eagles, their plans were, however, were intercepted, as the Lakers won 62-46, putting Triangle Lake and not McKenzie at 2-0 and in the tie with Lowell. McKenzie is a game back at 1-1 along with Siletz Valley, Crow, and Yoncalla. The Eagles previously defeated Siletz, and have yet to line-up against Crow, Yoncalla, and Lowell (currently ranked 2nd in the OSAA State 1A rankings). With three OSAA State playoff berths at stake this season the Eagles still have a very good opportunity to secure a return trip to State this season, but the job just got more problematic.
At Triangle Lake, Senior Quarterback Victor Vidal connected with his receivers on 50% of his pass attempts, 13-26, for 226 yds and 2 touchdowns. But the Laker defense also intercepted Vidal 3 times to stymie the Eagle aerial attack. McKenzie’s ground game kept the Eagles close as Junior Running Back/Receiver Bailey Adams rushed for 106 yds. on 8 carries, Vidal scampered for another 91 yards on 11 carries, and Senior Running Back Josh Ness added an additional 50 yds. on 9 carries. Ness also led his team with 5 pass receptions for 62 yds. and likewise led in scoring by reaching the end zone on 3 occasions, (1 rush TD, 1 pass TD, 1 66 yd. Kickoff Return TD), for a total of 20 pts. Vidal scored twice on the ground and Adams scored once each on the ground and from a Vidal pass. Defensively, Ness, playing linebacker led his team with 13 solo tackles along with 9 assists for a total of 22 tackles. Adams added 10 solos and 8 assists while Junior Casey Mitchell had 7 solos and 6 assists. McKenzie will host the Mapleton Sailors this Friday night at 7 pm. for a Homecoming Game.