Husky volleyball MVPs are Kayley Lopez, Ally Tow

Sean C. Morgan

Ally Tow and Kayley Lopez were named Most Valuable Players for the volleyball team Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the team’s annual awards event.

The event capped a red-letter year for the Huskies, who finished 15-5 overall and ranked sixth in the state, and second with an 8-2 mark in the Sky-Em Conference behind eventual state champion Sisters. The Huskies lost to the Outlaws by two points in their final match of the season, the only 4A team to take Sisters to five games – twice.

The Huskies’ state playoffs run was cut short by OSAA bracketing that matched the Huskies with eventual third-place finisher Crook County in the first round. Coach Mary Hutchins said coaches throughout Division 4A denounced that match-up as patently unfair. Sweet Home lost 25-23, 25-22, 25-23 to the 5A-bound Cowboys in Prineville. Crook County went on to lose 25-9, 25-12, 25-18 to Sisters in the tournament at Forest Grove High School, then beat Scappoose (21-25, 26-24, 25-20, 19-25, 15-9) and Cottage Grove (25-23, 22-25, 25-17, 25-21), both teams that Sweet Home had beaten decisively during the season.

“What I found was with great competition comes great emotion,” Hutchins told attendees at the awards event. “We saw great emotion this season.”

“I’m really, really proud of the girls in the whole program. They competed hard in every single game. We have a program of competitors. We are not ashamed, as girls, to compete hard on the court.”

The success was not limited to the varsity, she noted.

The junior varsity team of Marissa Kurtz, Katie Kurtz, Hannah Powell, Samantha Coats, Allison Miner, Teja Abbott, Aliya Boss, Kirdy Koehne and Emily Brown lost two games all season and the JV2 team of Brenna Boyd, Mary Sullivan, Aizlin Frantz, Emily Windom, Maddee Housen, Tatiana Patricio, Danielle Stafford and Ashtyn Walker beat 6A power Sheldon at the Cottage Grove Tournament on Oct. 7. All three Sweet Home teams were champions at the Junction City Tournament on Sept. 30.

“We were super proud of our JV team,” Hutchins said.

The Sweet Home program aims to “‘Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child,’ she said.

“We do that every day in the gym. Sports teach them how to deal with adversity, how to be humble when the path is easy, how to be strong when the path is hard.”

Junior setter Sunhee Bitter was named Most Inspirational Player.

Coaches Awards went to seniors Caylie Trewin, “who spent a lot of extra time in the gym and was an real encouragement to her teammates,” “Hutchins said, Samantha Hutchins, Kelika Aiona, Kylie Armstrong and Rose Wingo.

“I felt like, as a group, they were committed all those years,” Mary Hutchins said. “When their roles changed over the years, they adjusted.”

Varsity letters went to Aiona, Armstrong, Bitter, freshman Bailee Hartsook, Samantha Hutchins, freshman Savannah Hutchins, Lopez, freshman Shelbey Nichol, Trewin, Tow, Wingo and freshman Graci Zanona.