By Logan Brandon • Logan Brandon • 

Mac volleyball loses to Sunset in first round of state playoffs

PORTLAND – McMinnville’s volleyball team lost in straight sets, 25-16, 25-19, 25-18, to Sunset tonight in the first round of the state playoffs. The 21st-seeded Grizzlies were eliminated from postseason play despite a solid defensive performance and a forceful outing from senior outside hitter, Avari Ridgway.

Facing Sunset’s towering frontline, the Grizzlies relied on their defensive positioning and intuition to remain in contention. Unfortunately, the dangerous lineup combinations of the home team Appolos ultimately allowed them to prevail.

Sunset appeared in top form during the opening set, grabbing quick leads at 8-5 and 15-9 with massive hits up the middle. With the Apollos leading 21-12, Mac’s offense couldn’t find a rhythm to attempt a comeback, falling 25-16.

The Apollos consistent attack continued into the second game. Led by accurate and quick serving, the home team raced to an 8-1 lead. Sunset’s advantage extended to 11-2, before a lifting infraction earned Mac its third point.

Try as they might, however, the Grizzlies couldn’t make significant headway in the middle of the set. The Apollos would answer every point earned by the visitors with three of their own, leading to a massive 18-9 edge.

However, the Grizzly offense received a brief boost from Chloe Bousquet, and ran off a 6-2 run to trim the deficit to 22-18. Ridgway’s soaring smack down made it a 23-19 margin, but a pair of errors handed Sunset a two sets-to-none lead.

Inspired by their energy late in the previous set, the Grizzlies proved more competitive in the third. Bousquet gave her squad leads at 8-7 and 9-8 on perfectly placed shots. Natalia Rentsch then executed a drop shot at 11-8, which became Mac’s largest lead of the contest.

Ridgway and Sunset’s Sophie Summers traded a series of booming hits resulting in a 13-12 Grizzly lead, but it would prove the final advantage for the locals.

A few hitting errors and defensive miscues allowed the Appollos a window of opportunity late in the third. They capitalized with a 25-18 win and the playoff triumph.

Ridgway led the Mac attack with 12 kills and three blocks. Rentsch chipped in six kills and two blocks, while Bousquet provided a nice lift off the bench with five kills.

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