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Volleyball championships Sunday, November 11, 2007

West Linn libero Kellie Kawasaki hugs outside hitter Alyssa O'Neil Nov. 10 after the Lions won the 6A state volleyball championship 3-0 over North Medford. Kawasaki was chosen player of the game for West Linn.

The 5A and 6A state volleyball finals were played last night at Liberty High School in Hillsboro (just west of Portland). In the 6A class (for the largest schools in the state), West Linn faced the comeback kids from North Medford. Considering that the teams were ranked fifth and third, respectively, neither was a shoe-in to make the finals, let alone win. North Medford had a particularly tough road, facing off against no.-1 Jesuit in the quarterfinals, and being giving Gresham five match points before finishing off the gophers in the semifinals.

West Linn prevailed in the championship match, 25-19, 25-18, 25-22, and were suitably joyful. This year's title is the fourth for the Lions, who last won in 2003.

West Linn fans and players celebrate on the court Saturday night after the Lions' win.

These girls will be a force next year as well, as only one of their players will graduate in June.

The jubilation at the end of the 6A match was in sharp contrast to the businesslike nature of the 5A match earlier in the evening.

Krissi Kemper, Kaitlyn Duncan and Esemeralda Orozco celebrate as Crook County successfully defends their 5A state volleyball title with a 25-17, 25-10, 25-17 win over Summit Nov. 10 in Hillsboro.

That game pitted Intermountain Conference rivals Summit and Crook County against one another.

Though Summit tried to resist, the game seemed merely a formality for the Cowgirls, who cruised to a 25-17, 25-10, 25-17 win.

According to one reporter, one of the Crook County girls told him something to the effect of 'it's not like the tournaments where we get to play against the bigger schools ... but it is state, so that's cool.'

Though their school's enrollment sits just below the 5A threshold, It isn't surprising that the Cowgirls don't consider the other 5A schools to be much competition: The only game they lost to a 5A school all year came to Ashland in the semifinals. They did lose three matches this year, all to
Jesuit, the top-ranked team in the 6A class.

Crook County walks off the court after successfully defending their 5A volleyball title.

The first Crook County photo (above) was made instants after the last point. This image (left) was made just five seconds later. Compare these to the West Linn photos.

One more action photo:

Crook County senior Jessi Lea watches as her attack goes through the block of Kelsey Zimmerman and Riley Peters.


Laëtitia said...

Hello Matthew,

Just a word to tell you that your action volleball pictures are really good !


Laëtitia said...

I wanted to say "volleyball" ... sorry for the mistake !

Matthew said...

Thanks. This is the first year I really shot any volleyball; it's pretty tough. It helped that I lit the gym for the finals (just a couple of speedlights) and also the gym at Liberty HS is nice because it has a white ceiling and a balcony to shoot from.

Laëtitia said...

Yes, I noticed the photos you have made from the balcony ... really nice angles from there !
I agree with you. Some sports are really hard to shoot, especially in those gymnasiums, usually offering a "weird yellow light" that often becomes disgusting whith an ISO up to 1200 or 1600 ! Your technic sounds really good. Hopefully the ceiling was white.
Congratulations !
The worse sport I had to photograph in similar conditions was tumbling and the action is very very quick. I remember that for my first experience, I really had a hard time !

Matthew said...

Liberty is a pretty new school, so it's relatively good. The light at most of the high school gyms and stadiums around here is horrible. For night games or indoor sports, I'm often shooting at ISO3200 f/2.8, and even then can't always get up to 1/500. Worse, the light changes colour, so the tone of the photos changes from frame to frame. The speedlights allowed me to drop to ISO 1000 or so, but my synch speed is only 1/250 with them ... it's a trade off.