by Randy Parks
The Burns volleyball team swept their final three league matches to lay claim to the Wapiti League regular season title.
Burns finished the season with a perfect 12-0 record, and will next compete in the district tournament Saturday, Oct. 24, at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.
The Hilanders hosted Imbler on Friday, Oct. 16, and defeated the Panthers 25-12, 25-19, 25-15.
With the score tied 9-9 in the first set, Catherine Clemens served four straight points, including an ace to give Burns a bit of a cushion. After each team scored on a side out, Madison Carson rattled off six points from the serving line, giving Burns a 20-10 advantage.
Lindsey Taylor sealed the first-set win for Burns with two aces on her final three serves.
Burns jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the second set and looked like they would win easily, but the Panthers put together a late rally to close the gap to 20-18. A kill by Clemens got the momentum back in the Hilanders’ favor, and Carli Feist served the final three points, including an ace on the final point, as Burns picked up the win.
Burns led by as many as four points in the early going of the third set, only to see Imbler close the gap to 12-11 with a short-lived rally. The Hilanders eventually went up 22-14, and went on to win the set and the match.
Clemens finished with 10 kills, 12 digs and three aces; Taylor added seven kills, seven digs and four aces; Taylor Crafts five kills and four blocks; Feist 23 assists and seven digs; Carson five kills and two aces; and Kaylea Friedrichsen 14 digs and one ace.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, Burns hosted both Elgin and Cove.
The Hilanders knocked off Elgin 25-19, 25-12, 25-19.
Burns’ offense was clicking as they recorded 42 kills in the match. Clemens led the team with 18 kills, Crafts had eight, Taylor seven and Feist five.
Feist was the team leader in assists with 28.
Defensively, Friedrichsen and Ally Sutcliffe each recorded eight digs, and Taylor and Clemens seven apiece, and Carson led the team in blocks with three.
In their final match of the regular season Burns defeated Cove 25-5, 25-8, 25-14.
Clemens and Crafts provided a one-two punch for the offense, recording 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
Feist and Korina Cate each had four aces, and Feist finished with 23 assists.
Burns came up with 28 digs, led by Cate with six and Alyssa Burri with five.
Burns took another step toward winning the Wapiti League title by defeating Grant Union in four sets on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Burns High School.
The Hilanders won 25-21, 25-18, 15-25 and 25-18.
Clemens led the offensive attack, finishing with 21 of the team’s 36 kills. Crafts added another five and Carson four.
Feist was solid in her role as a setter once again, recording 30 assists in the match, and Friedrichsen led the team in aces with four.
On the defensive side, Carson and Crafts led the team in blocks with six and five, respectively, and Friedrichsen came up with 17 of the team’s 47 digs.