Vale's Jaymeson Jensen (No. 8) racked up 10 kills to help lift the Vikings over Catlin Gabel Saturday. (Enterprise file photo)

PORTLAND – For the Vikings, it ain’t over till it’s over.

Vale kicked off the state playoffs with a 3-1 win against Catlin Gabel on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Vikings will advance to the quarter final at the state tournament in Forest Grove, with a match against South Umpqua on Friday, Nov. 8. 

“Catlin Gabel was a huge team and very offensive,” said Vikings coach Shannon Steele. “We just prepared ourselves to battle.”

Vale finished the match against fourth-ranked Catlin Gabel with set scores of 25-21, 18-25, 25-20, 25-22.

Steele credits the Vikings’ teamwork, communication and tough serving for the win. 

“We followed the game plan to a tee, played exceptional defense and served tough,” Steele added. “We were focused, calm and bounced back from errors.”

Steele said the team is taking it one game at a time, and doing its best to prepare for South Umpqua’s offense. 

South Umpqua is No. 5 in the OSAA ranking. Vale ranks No. 13.

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A win that day will mean Vale will advance to the semifinals, where they will face off against either Sutherlin or Santiam Christian. 

The win against Catlin Gabel follows a disappointing defeat against Burns last week for the district championship. 

“We had some tough conversations after the loss,” Steele said. “We refocused on our goals and committed to following our game plan.” 

Against Catlin Gabil, the Vikings served at 97%, with five players serving at 100%: Emersyn Johnson, Jaymeson Jensen, Lexi Cleaver and Sierra Cleaver and Maycee DeLong

DeLong, who was dealing with a foot injury, also gave the team 24 assists. 

Tyanna Norton had four aces. In kills, Jaymeson Jensen had 10, Demia Hardin and Norton had six each, and Sierra Cleaver had five. 

Alissa Fulwyler gave the team seven digs, Lexi Cleaver and Emersyn Johnson had eight each, while Sierra Cleaver and Lexy Rodgers had six each. 

“Being in the top eight in the state is exciting,” said Steele, adding, “The girls are honored to be playing.”

Have a news tip? Reporter Yadira Lopez: yadira@malheurenterprise.com or 541-473-3377

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