FOREST GROVE — The Ione Cardinals are heading to the Class 1A OSAA State Championship game after defeating Hosanna Christian 25-21, 25-9 and 25-16 Friday at Pacific University. One final win separates the Cardinals (31-0, 6-0 BSC) from a perfect season and a state championship.

Set one against Hosanna Christian was the only scare Ione had in a match that featured nine ties and five lead changes. With the set tied at 20-20, senior Dominika Senkerikova slammed the ball to the floor to take the lead and had two more kills to end the set. She accounted for eight kills during the semifinals match.

Senior JoAnna Patton took charge in set No. 2, scoring four of the last six points to end the set. She finished the match with 10 kills and a pair of blocks.

In set three, Hosanna Christian (23-4, 14-0 MVL) tried storming a comeback, making the game 18-15 behind the serves of Emma Thompson. But it was too little too late, and the Cardinals took the game.

“It’s been our goal all season,” Ione head coach Dawn Eynetich said. “This is what we worked for, I didn’t expect anything less.”

The state’s top-ranked team in Ione advanced to the semifinal game with a 3-1 victory over Adrian earlier Friday. The Cardinals defeated the High Desert League champions 25-13, 25-21, 20-25 and 25-15.

“I thought we came out well and we did what we had to do,” said Eynetich, who’s Big Sky Conference champions struggled more against the eighth-seeded Adrian than the No. 5 Hosanna Christian.

Up two sets already, the Cardinals let set No. 3 slip through their fingers. Set four featured a lot of heavy hitting from Senkerikova to put the game — and the quarterfinals match — out of reach.

Ione will face Powder Valley (24-1, 9-1 OOL) for the 1A State Championship today at 6 p.m. in a match that features teams with just one loss between them. Ione and Powder Valley finished third and second respectively in the tournament last season.

DAYS?CREEK 3, HEPPNER 0 — The Heppner Mustangs dropped a semifinals match Friday night against the No. 1 team in the state Days Creek, a road block that kept the Mustangs out of the Class 2A state championship match.

Days Creek came out swinging in the first set, opening the game on a 7-0 streak. Heppner closed within five points making it 12-7, but Days Creek wouldn't let any balls hit the floor, breaking away in the set.

The Mustangs started game two off differently, opening up a 7-2 lead behind two aces. Yet Days Creek came roaring back from behind to take that set as well. Days Creek overcame an 18-9 deficit to tie it at 23-all. Despite a Carrie Haguewood kill to put the Mustangs up with set-point within reach, errors kept Heppner out of the game.

“When you don't have the experience of a state tournament to balance the disappointment of a loss at this high level of competition, you do your best,” Heppner head coach Pam Dowdy said. “(We) lost to a great team.“

The loss broke a string of nine straight match victories for Heppner.

Heppner — a No. 2 seed in the tournament and the fourth-ranked squad overall — beat North Douglas (19-6, 13-3 MVC) in five sets in the quarterfinal match earlier on Friday. North Douglas pushed Heppner to five sets after starting in a two-set hole, 25-11, 25-15, 11-25, 23-25 and 15-5.

“The win (Friday) morning was important, and we'll come back tomorrow and go for a trophy,” Dowdy said .

Heppner will play Reedsport (22-4, 4-0 SD1) — the second-ranked team in the state — in a third-place match at noon today.

PORTLAND CHRISTIAN 3, WESTON-MCEWEN 0 — Friday’s loss in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A State Championship was the latest blow during a nightmare end to the season for the Weston-McEwen volleyballers. The favored TigerScots (24-8, 13-1 BMC) were upset by Portland Christian in straight sets (25-12, 25-22, 27-25) when the teams met at Pacific University in Forest Grove Friday morning.

The opening-round loss means the second-seeded Weston-McEwen can finish no better than fourth in the state — a far cry from their state championship season a year ago — and must win a pair of matches today to make that happen. The TigerScots began their drive for redemption at 8 a.m. this morning against Faith Bible (16-7, 11-1 NWL), a No. 4 seed.

The TigerScots fell short of the ultimate goal, but the season isn’t over yet, coach Shawn White said.

“One of the strengths of this team, they’re able to play through and rebound through most anything,” he said. “We don’t have an easy day (today) either. We’ll have to step up to the plate.”

The match with Faith Bible is a rematch of last year’s championship match, a 3-0 victory for Weston-McEwen.

Morgan Entze had seven kills and Katy West blocked six spikes for the TigerScots, who were swept in sets for the first time since their opening match of the year at Powder Valley.

Portland Christian later advanced to the championship match where it will face Days Creek (26-2, 16-0 MVC) tonight at 8:30 p.m.


East Oregonian staff reporter AJ Mazzolini contributed to this report.

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