By Logan Brandon • Sports Editor • 

Pirates prevail! Defeat Santiam Christian in volleyball; first time since 2014


DAYTON – Since 2014, when Santiam Christian joined the Class 3A West Valley League, the Eagles have had a stranglehold on the conference's volleyball championships, winning the last three. In that time, they lost only two league contests.

That run of dominance may have ended tonight in Dayton.

The Pirates completed a 25-18, 26-24, 25-22 home sweep of the Eagles with a stunning display of hitting power, serving and timely defense. They defeated Santiam Christian for the first time in head coach Kathleen Brasuell's four-year career.

Shawnie Spink led the way in the first set, showing off an impressive vertical leap while crushing five kills. Her monumental shot in the middle of the set ended a 4-0 Eagle run, and handed the home side a 13-9 lead. Spink again boomed a scoring hit down the line to give Dayton a 23-17 advantage.

Ani Heidt's shot up the middle bounced off two Eagles for a kill and secured the 25-18 opening game.

The second set was beset by hitting errors from both sides, but Sierra Bowlin's clutch defense rescued the Pirates. Tied at 22, Bowlin nabbed two incredible digs to set up a Spink kill. Then, on the clinching score, Bowlin produced another save leading to a hitting error which handed Dayton the 26-24 win.

Bowlin and Spink headlined a new lineup implemented by Brasuell in the third which embarked on a 12-4 run. Joined by Beth Shirley, Malina Ray, Heidt and Gabby Shadden, they extended the lead to 16-8 with solid defense and constant pressure on the Eagle front line.

While Santiam Christian would climb back from a 23-12 hole to make it 23-19, Brasuell's time out righted the ship and Spink ended the match with an expertly placed dink shot.

Spink led the team offensively with 13 kills and four aces. Ray was the only other Pirate in double figures with 10. Kalina Rojas added eight kills and three blocks. Bowlin ended the night with 25 digs, emphasizing her impact on the defensive side.