Camas volleyball savors win over Union

Papermakers capture district title in straight sets

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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CAMAS -- Winning a district volleyball championship is one thing. It's just that much better to top a rival to capture that title.

"Beating Union in anything gives Camas a lot of pride," Camas junior middle blocker Carly Banks said. "It feels good because they are our enemies. I respect them. They're awesome players. I'm sure they're awesome girls. But beating them is fun."

Banks and the Papermakers had a blast Wednesday night, topping Union in three games for the Class 4A Southwest Washington district volleyball crown. Scores were 25-13, 25-22, 25-22.

Lauren Harris had 14 kills and three blocks, and Banks added nine kills and two blocks to lead the Papermakers, who followed their 4A Greater St. Helens League championship with this district title.

"It's so satisfying," Harris said. "It proves that we worked so hard through the season. We came together as such a great team."

Camas will go to this weekend's bi-district tournament as the top seed from Clark County. Union is the No. 2 seed. Skyview, which lost to Union in the district semifinals on Tuesday, is No. 3. All three teams will be battling for berths to the state tournament.

Before any of that, Camas had to rule the day at district.

Harris had five kills in the first game, with Camas scoring eight consecutive points during one stretch in what turned into an easy win.

"It sent a message, but it also gave them reason to fight back in the second game," Harris said. "We had to be ready for that."

In fact, Union did start with strong play in Game 2, racing out to an 11-4 lead. The Papermakers, though, scored seven in a row to get back in it. Later, tied at 19, Cassie Bailie got one of her nine kills, and Banks would add two kills for a 25-22 win.

Harris and Banks teamed up for a couple of blocks in Game 3.

"It's such a connection," Harris said. "Once we come down, we are so fired up and so ready for the next ball."

Banks said she and Harris are "ball hogs," but in a good way. They both are hungry to defend the net.

"We get to celebrate together and have fun together and play our hearts out," Banks said.

Harris' blast for a kill made it 21-19, and Bailie ended the match with consecutive kills.

Camas libero Abby Young recorded 21 digs and played near flawless serve receive. Tina Elliott had four kills and 38 assists for the Papermakers.

The Titans had their moments, too. Meghan Turner had eight kills and a block, Megan LaFond had seven kills and two blocks, and Madeline Sutherland had seven kills and a block.

"After the first game, we did compete," Union coach Tove Papenfuse said. "We were tired from last night. We were just missing fire."

The Titans, who finished a victory behind Camas in the GSHL standings, were disappointed not to get this one at district. Papenfuse told her players it is time to move on to the next challenge.

"We gotta come back and get stronger this weekend," she said. "That's all we can do."

Camas coach Julie Nidick appreciated the fight from the Titans.

It will help her squad, too.

"It was nice for the girls to have to play so hard. To come back and really fight makes it that much sweeter," Nidick said. "It's nice to see great competition going into bi-district."