Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

Baker played a near-perfect volleyball match Saturday against Sweet Home. And, in the process earned a berth at the Class 4A state tournament Friday and Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene.

Baker stopped the Huskies 25-17, 23-25, 25-11, 25-21 in the Baker gym. The Bulldogs now meet top-ranked Hidden Valley at 1:15 p.m. Friday in the opening round at state.

"I'm so proud of the girls," said Baker coach Michele McCauley.

"That's the way we practice every day. They worked so hard for this."

Every Bulldog who played contributed in one way or another.

"I felt we blocked very well," McCauley said. "Blocking the flex helped us out on defense."

Baker had 23 blocks or block deflections in the match.

"I thought we played very well on offense, but I still believe defense wins games. The girls just played great volleyball."

Tori Brown and Tiffany Burk led the front row with 22 and 15 kills each. Stacy Duman added eight kills and Kelsey Cole six. Monica Voboril added several key blocks.

D.J. McCauley was 22-for-22 serving with two aces and had 24 digs. Cole was 17-of-18 serving, 16-of-18 hitting and had 19 assists. Kathryn Daugherty served 100 percent, and Jessi Stephens had six digs. Emily Smith and Ashley Trees anchored the defense behind the front row.

In the first game, Baker broke away from a 3-3 tie with Brown serving five straight points. She had a pair of ace serves, and Burk added three scoring hits in the spurt.

Later, leading 22-17, Cole served the final three points for the win. Burk again had a scoring hit.

In Game 2, Sweet Home broke a 22-22 tie by scoring three of the final four points.

Game 3 started with some controversy when McCauley accidentally wrote the wrong numbers down for her starters.

"I wrote the wrong numbers, causing us to have a different lineup on the court to start the game," the Baker coach said. "But the girls stepped up and didn't let it bother them. In fact it might have been the best game we played all night."

Baker jumped out to a 10-3 lead, then increased it to 17-7. The Bulldogs continued to dominate the net, with Brown putting the final touches on the win. Brown had three straight hits, with the third finally scoring the 25th point.

Baker trailed most of the early Game 4 before taking a 19-17 lead on a Burk tip with Cole serving.

Baker never trailed again, winning when Sweet Home hit the ball long for match point.

Admission at Lane Community College is $7 adults and $4 students. Admission to the semifinals and finals is $8 adults and $5 students.

The last time Baker advanced to Eugene the Bulldogs defeated Henley for third place in 2006.