PHS volleyball team
The Philomath High volleyball team poses with its third-place trophy following Saturday’s victory over Valley Catholic. (Photo courtesy of Susan Halliday)

The Philomath High School volleyball team shrugged off a difficult five-set loss to Sisters in the 4A state semifinals Friday night and took the tournament’s third-place trophy 16 hours later with a four-set victory on Saturday over Valley Catholic.

Playing on the floor at Corvallis High School, Philomath defeated the Valiants, 25-14, 25-20, 8-25 and 26-24. Despite a No. 13 seeding, the Warriors (13-10) were playing as well as any team in 4A when the postseason arrived with sweeps over No. 4 Mazama and No. 5 Baker and a five-set marathon loss against top-seeded Sisters that came down to the final points.

In the win over Valley Catholic, the Warriors came out strong and controlled the first set before getting more of a challenge in the second set. The Valiants led 15-11 at one point before Philomath started to come back.

The Warriors tied it 17-17 on an Abigail Brown kill between a pair of diving Valley Catholic players. Brown then got another point on a tap to give Philomath the lead. After the Valiants tied it up at 18-18, Philomath regained the lead on another Brown hit and then went up by two on an Ashlynn Barron kill.

The Warriors never trailed the rest of the set. Leading 20-19, Philomath scored four straight points on a VC unforced error, Clara Stanley hit, Barron hit and Brown ace. The Valiants broke the scoring streak but PHS finished it out on a Barron hit.

Philomath lost its momentum in the third set and struggled to the tune of 25-8 in favor of Valley Catholic. But the Warriors regrouped in the fourth set and came through late to win the match.

Down 23-19, Philomath senior Sage Kramer got the hot hitting hand. First, she got a kill to cut the deficit to three, followed with a hard hit that Valley Catholic’s back row couldn’t handle and then won at the net with a tap to make it 23-22.

Valley Catholic followed with a hit that sailed long and the set was tied. With Taylor Roe serving, Kramer got another kill for a 24-23 advantage and match point. The Valiants survived with a hit into a Philomath block that fell to the court. With the set tied, 24-24, Kramer came up with a big hit in the middle for the one-point lead and another match point.

On the final play, Reagan Larson served, Valley Catholic got the ball back over, Roe received it and passed up to Larson, who set Kramer on the left side for the season-ending kill.

Kramer finished with 23 kills in all and had a .370 hit percentage. Brown and Barron had eight and seven kills, respectively. Larson had 33 assists and at the service line, Kramer had three aces while Barron and Roe each had two.

On defense, Roe had a team-high 21 digs with Kramer finishing with 16. Stanley, Larson and Brown each had two block assists.

The Oregon West Conference had a 1-2-3 finish at the tournament. Cascade won the state title with a 27-29, 25-17, 17-25, 25-18, 15-7 victory over Sisters in the grand finale.

Kramer earned a spot on the all-tournament first team and along with third place, the Warriors also won the sportsmanship award.

Valley Catholic finishes the season with a 19-6 record.