TOLEDO – Oct. 24 was senior night for the seven Boomer volleyball players who have set their sights on making it into the OSAA Championship playoff bracket. But after the festivities last Thursday, they had their tallest task of the season: taking revenge on the talented No. 9 Reedsport Braves.
“Senior night was stressful. We had a lot of things happening, a lot of moving parts. Family coming, packed gym, excitement, sadness due to it being the last home game,” said senior Tana’ya Barnhart. “It was a lot to deal with. Then we had to play!”
Play they did. After losing to the Braves 3-1 at Reedsport on Oct. 1, Toledo came out last week and romped the Braves, taking a commanding 8-0 lead before winning the first set 25-16.
“We know how good they are,” explained senior Kaycie Otis. “They were going to keep coming so we had to keep the pedal down and take this game.”
And take it they did. Toledo went onto dismantle the Braves 25-16 and 25-18 the following two sets to take a decisive 3-0 win. The Boomers now share second place in the 2A Sunset Conference with Reedsport.
“I was so proud of the girls to come out and do what they just did,” said coach Crystal Taylor-Hinds. “I wasn’t sure what we would get from our girls but we are playing the best volleyball I have ever seen these girls play together.”
Toledo has been on a run for the ages. Just over three weeks ago, the Boomers were sitting 3-3 in the Sunset standings in a two-way tie for fourth place. Since last losing to league champion Coquille on Oct. 3, Toledo has gone 6-0, with 18 set wins to 1 loss in three weeks.
“We have been rolling,” asserted Barnhart. “Ever since the loss to Reedsport, we made a decision that we would do whatever it takes to make the playoffs. Not the league playoff, the state playoff. We want in. And when we get in, we can do something miraculous. You watch!”
Toledo has triggered a sudden-death playoff rematch playoff for second place and a seat at the 2019 OSAA playoff table, with room for only 16 teams. If they win, they will likely get in as the number 14 or 15 seed. As a No. 14 seed they would likely travel to Union High School near LaGrande or as the 15 seed they would have a closer trip to Central Linn in Halsey. No matter where it is they would be excited to make it in for the first time since 2007.
Toledo has not been to the playoffs since 2007.
Toledo was scheduled to play Reedsport Tuesday night in Waldport at 6 p.m., too late for Wednesday’s paper. See Friday’s News-Times for the conclusion of this epic showdown, where the winner will then be entered into the OSAA ‘round of 16’ bracket.