AHS water polo teams plunge into first conference tournament

The Ashland High boys and girls water polo teams competed in their first Southern Conference tournament of the season this weekend at the Southern Oregon University pool. The boys had three wins and one loss in interconference play and the girls had two wins and one loss.

After an opening loss to South Eugene (11-8), the boys, led by German exchange student Robin Haase's four goals, defeated Marist 15-7. Rafferty Swink added three goals and Richard Thomas recorded four blocks in the goal.

The Grizzlies boys finished off Saturday play with a 13-11 victory over Cottage Grove. Jake Gavin led all scorers with four goals and Troy Robinson added three. Goalie Willis Plummer had five blocks.

On Sunday, the Grizzlies defeated Sheldon 18-11, with Haase leading the way with seven goals. Lucas Opgenorth scored three.

The Ashland girls opened on Saturday with a 15-8 win over South Eugene. Allison Gida led the Grizzlies with six goals and Natalie Delcarlo scored five. The Grizzlies then lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Cottage Grove 9-7.

On Sunday, the Ashland girls came back to soundly defeat Sheldon 19-1. Delcarlo led the way with six goals, while Xenia Contreras added five. Goalie Carlee Santee had six blocks and also contributed a goal at the final buzzer.

Both teams play Medford on Friday at the SOU pool.

AHS volleyball

In a field littered with top-ranked 6A and 5A teams from across the state, third-ranked Jesuit of Portland repeated as champion of the Rogue Valley Classic on Saturday, besting defending 6A champion and state No. 1-ranked West Linn in the final at the Lacey Athletic Center on the North Medford High campus.

The Crusaders won the title match, 23-25, 25-14, 15-6.

"Jesuit could probably beat some Division I college programs," said Ashland coach Jodee Scott, whose team was trumped by the Crusaders in pool play and finished in a tie for ninth place.

Only two of the eight Rogue Valley schools entered — Ashland and Cascade Christian — advanced to the tournament's 16-team elimination round, and they were ousted in straight games by 6A powers Gresham and Jesuit, respectively.

The field of 28 teams featured nine of the top 10 Class 6A teams and six of the top 10 Class 5A squads, including the defending state champion from both classifications.

Ashland, which finished third in 5A last fall, beat Mountain View and Grants Pass and fell to Jesuit and, finally, Gresham 25-17, 25-18 in the round of 16.

The Grizzlies (8-8) open defense of their Southern Sky Conference title at Klamath Union on Tuesday.

"We have made a lot of improvements since the season began, but we have a lot of improvements yet to make," Scott said. "Right now, we want to play teams that are ranked higher than us."

"I'm pleased with where we are and I'm excited to get in the gym on Monday and start implementing some of the things that we need to improve," she added. "You always want to win, but you'd rather win at the end of the season than now."

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