Will Bend win the 5A State title?
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PrepDig Oregon released a poll awhile back asking everyone to vote on their prediction for the 5A State title winner. PrepDig is doing a write up on each of the top four vote getters, plus a bonus school we think…
PrepDig Oregon released a poll awhile back asking everyone to vote on their prediction for the 5A State title winner. PrepDig is doing a write up on each of the top four vote getters, plus a bonus school we think will go far in the State tournament. Based on the results, Bend, Wilsonville, Summit, and West Albany received the highest number of votes; and, our 5A bonus school is Crescent Valley. All five programs are top-notch and will likely advance well into the State tournament. But, will one of these teams win it all? Time will tell.
Receiving the most votes at 68 was Bend High School. The Lava Bears had an excellent run in the 5A tournament last season, going into the tournament seeded 4th and finishing with a second place win after falling to Crescent Valley. Bend won its first State championship in 2016 and again in 2017, but has not won since. Given the team’s close run last fall and its solid 13-3 record so far this season, the Lava Bears have a good chance at taking the championship this year, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be fighting hard for that final win.
With the regular season coming to a close, we have been able to see this team in action and have some impressive players to highlight.
Finishing out her high school career is standout, a Cal Poly commit who was just named the 5A Intermountain All-League Player of the Year. Hitting from the outside and the middle when needed, LeLuge is an incredibly impressive player with a lot of power and solid technique. Over the course of 10 matches in league play, LeLuge racked up 210 kills, a testament to her offensive prowess. She is also a very skilled defensive player, and tallied 16 blocks and 128 digs. From the service line, LeLuge can cause some serious damage, having notched 17 aces throughout those 10 league matches. The Lava Bears will undoubtedly be relying heavily on LeLuge during the State tournament.
LeLuge is not Bend’s only offensive powerhouse. From the middle, juniorhas showcased her excellent court vision and quick arm swing over the course of the season, racking up 38 kills during league play. Shields also notched 21 blocks and 5 aces, earning an Intermountain all-league honorable mention. And, hitting on the outside is junior Jasi Kjellesvik, whose explosive approach and ability to move the ball around the block effortlessly have been instrumental for the Lava Bears. Kjellesvik has tallied 51 kills, 78 digs, and 16 aces, and was also named to the Intermountain all-league honorable mention list. Between Kjellesvik, Shields, and LeLuge, Bend has a solid offensive squad.
That offense is only sustained, though, thanks to the talented setting duo of seniorand junior , who do an impressive job of running their 6-2 offense. Clothier, who was named to the Intermountain all-league second team this fall, connects well with each of her hitters, particularly her middles. Over the team’s 10 league matches, Clothier tallied 177 set assists on 430 set attempts and notched 51 digs. From the baseline, Clothier is deadly, having notched an impressive 30 aces with her tough jump float serve. Schuller, who sets when in the back row and hits from the pins or the middle while in the front row, is a skilled all-around player, earning Intermountain all-league first team accolades this season. Like Clothier, Schuller connects well with her hitters, notching 141 set assists on 334 attempts over the course of league play. Schuller has tallied 66 digs and 22 aces, too. In the front row, Schuller has great court vision and sees openings well, and she uses the block well to make successful swings, of which she racked up 87 kills. Clothier and Schuller certainly will be imperative for the Lava Bears during the State tournament.
Finally, anchoring the back court is junior libero, who was just named Intermountain All-League Libero of the Year. Braude reads the opposing team’s hitters well and puts herself in a good position to dig the ball effortlessly. She moves around the court with ease and isn’t afraid to make diving plays or use her hands to keep the ball alive. Braude has notched a solid 114 digs and passed a 1.94 over the course of league play, ensuring that the Lava Bears’ back row is well-covered.
*The stats provided are through Oct 27, 2023.