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October 18, 2010
by: GUERIN EMIG Tulsa World Sports Writer
(Reprinted with Permission. This is not an endorsement.)
SHAWNEE - Jenks never trailed in the decisive fifth game of its Class 6A state volleyball quarterfinal victory over Union on Friday. Still, the Trojans were pushed to the very brink before prevailing 27-25, 19-25, 18-25, 25-20, 15-13.
You could tell by the long talk Redskins coach Chadd McKee had with his team afterward, when he repeatedly praised his teary-eyed players for both their fight and their level of play.
You could tell by the relief in the voices of Jenks' Carissa Ophus and Sara Pope, just around the corner.
"It was way too close for comfort," said Pope, who placed a ball into an open corner of the Union court for the victory. "But we pulled it out."
That they did, but only after Union won games two and three behind the power of hitters Paige Brown, Christina Stuehm and Alexa Knox, plus the clever playmaking of setter Kylie Johnson.
"I knew they would come out on fire," Ophus said, "especially since we had beaten them twice already (in the regular season). They did not want to lose to us."
That was obvious from the first game. Jenks jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, Union fought back to tie at 8-8, and it was back and forth from there.
The Redskins actually had game point at 24-23 and 25-24, but big plays by Maddy Morris and Marquishia Washington kept the game going.
J'Sue Wilson hammered one down from the left wing to give Jenks a 26-25 lead, before Morris' towering middle-of-the-net block decided the game.
Union responded in games two and three. The Trojans bagged game four to pull even, then went to Ophus for their first two points of the finale. Union answered with Knox, and the battle was on.
Pope helped Jenks forge a 10-6 lead, then Johnson got the Redskins within 11-9. Eventually, Ophus hit long to square the game at 13-13.
Then, seemingly in an instant, a Union net violation and Pope's heady play decided the outcome.
The Trojans (27-6) advanced to face Edmond Santa Fe (28-5) in Saturday's 6A semifinals.
That 10 a.m. match will be held at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, with the winner advancing to the 5:15 p.m. state final also at OBU.
Santa Fe knocked out gritty Norman North 26-24, 25-16, 25-23 in Friday's first quarterfinal.
In the other half of the bracket, Bartlesville went the distance to eliminate Edmond North 17-25, 25-23, 25-19, 18-25, 15-10. The 27-6 Bruins face 30-3 Edmond Memorial in Saturday's 11:45 a.m. semifinal. Edmond Memorial defeated Bixby Friday 25-18, 25-17, 25-18.