Philomath's Madison Juhl (9), Ashleigh Brown (13) and Ahnika Tryon (right) celebrate a point during last week's win over Newport. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School volleyball team won two matches in bracket play during Saturday’s North Marion Invitational with victories over Cottage Grove and St. Helens.

The Warriors came out of pool play with advancement into the tournament’s Silver Bracket. Philomath and Cottage Grove had just played the previous weekend at the Sisters Invitational and the result was no different the second time around. The Warriors led the entire match and ended up with a win of 25-22, 25-12.

“Our servers were tough and in,” PHS coach Autumn Hilberg said. “Shaylee May found her rhythm and added depth to our offense. Kori Galvan ran the back row once again.”

In the Silver Bracket final, Philomath battled St. Helens and survived 31-29, 27-25. In the second set, the Warriors rallied from a 12-3 deficit to notch the victory.

Hilberg said freshman swing player Avery Smith steadied the offense while junior Ahnika Tryon served several aces to get Philomath back into the match. The Warriors faced match point at 24-21 but scored four straight points with senior Brooke Moade playing a pivotal role.

At that point in the match, Moade subbed in to serve and play defense and registered two aces and two digs during the 4-0 run.

“I am proud of Brooke for stepping up when the game was on the line,” Hilberg said. “She is working in practice to have a tough and consistent jump serve and it is paying off.” 

Hilberg added that sophomore Ashleigh Brown played “beyond her years this weekend” to put together a consistent performance at the tournament.

In morning pool play, Hilberg said the team put up a fight against highly-ranked Marist Catholic. Said the coach, “Super tough game and the girls showed a lot of grit and fight.”

The coach lauded the efforts of senior Abigail Brown and Tryon for their offensive efforts that led to points on the scoreboard.

“We are slowly finding our rhythm again,” Hilberg said. “We showed that we can compete against one of the top teams in the state. I’m excited to continue to watch these girls improve as the day season goes on.”

On the stat sheet for the tournament, Abigail Brown had a team-high 53 points. Tryon finished with 12 aces and junior Madison Juhl had seven blocks.

Philomath (7-1) is scheduled to play at North Marion again on Tuesday, this time for an Oregon West Conference match against the Huskies. North Marion will enter the matchup with a 2-3 record.