By René Ferrán
A look at some of the top returning players and teams to watch in Class 2A Oregon high school volleyball
State: Salem Academy (27-2)
League: Gaston (16-0 Northwest); Salem Academy (11-0 Tri-River); Monroe (14-0 Central Valley); Stanfield (11-1 Blue Mountain); Willamina (7-1 3A Coastal Range)
Teams to watch
The Greyhounds blew through the 2021 regular season, suffering their only two losses in the Northwest district final to Vernonia and the state final to Salem Academy. First-team all-state setter Lexi Fern and senior all-league RS Madi Bentley are among nine returning players.
The Prospectors are one of the perennial powers in 2A, winning the 2017 title and reaching the 2018 final. They knocked off Stanfield in the Blue Mountain district final en route to a fourth-place state finish last fall and bring back junior MB Drewsey Williams and sophomore S/RS Adeline Northway among eight returners.
The Dragons swept the Central Valley regular-season and district titles en route to a third-place finish at the 2021 state tournament. Senior OH Bella Gamache, a first-team all-state selection, and all-tournament senior MB Hannah Hicks lead a squad that returns nine players from last season.
The Crusaders last fall won their first state title since 1995, dropping only one set over their final 16 matches. They graduated 2A player of the year L Annabelle Brawley and first-team all-state S/RS Bailey Pedersen, but with first-team all-state MB Aly Herber back for her senior season, they shouldn’t fall off too much.
The Tigers last season suffered back-to-back losses after clinching their first Blue Mountain regular-season championship, falling to Grant Union in the district final and Portland Christian in Round 1 of the state playoffs. Sisters Zuri (a senior who was a first-team all-state OH) and Mazie Reeser will lead their quest for a first state playoff win.
Players to watch
Outside/right-side hitters: Bella Gamache, Monroe, senior; Zuri Reeser, Stanfield, senior; Jade Snyder, Oakridge, junior; Grace Bradford, Myrtle Point, senior; Hallee Hughes, Willamina, senior; Madi Bentley, Gaston, senior; Maya Rosenberg, Gaston, senior; Mazie Reeser, Stanfield, sophomore; Izzy Boyd, Gervais, senior; Jade Snyder, Oakridge, junior
Middle hitters: Aly Herber, Salem Academy, senior; Genevieve Robinson, Weston-McEwen, senior; Drewsey Williams, Grant Union, junior; Lydia Plahn, Lowell, senior; Alyssa Baird, Portland Christian, sophomore; Olivia Boyd, Gervais, junior; Hannah Hicks, Monroe, senior
Setters: Lexi Fern, Gaston, junior; Adeline Northway, Grant Union, sophomore; Brooke Bush, Culver, senior; Sarah Thompson, Monroe, senior; Zoe Menzolini, Vernonia, senior; Lindsey Otis, Toledo, sophomore; Addie Perkins, Weston-McEwen, junior
Liberos: Annabelle Pickett, Lowell, junior; Maddie Carter, Reedsport, senior; Avery Taylor, Toledo, senior; Anna Wismer, Gaston, junior; Lexi Herber, Salem Academy, sophomore