Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

NORTH POWDER - Defending their Class 1A state volleyball championship will be a challenge for Powder Valley this season. A challenge the Badgers are looking forward to meeting.

Powder Valley lost 1A player of the year Jessica Pedro and first-team all-stater Ali Abrego from last year's team.

"We lost two of the best players in the state," said Powder coach Lasa Baxter. "You don't replace that.

"But, these girls have a lot of hope for a successful season."

Seven players return from the state-championship team - Alexandra Colton, McKinsey Hampton, Jenna Aldrich, Alyssa Aldrich, Taylor Martin, Amanda Feik and Amy Eubanks.

The Badgers also added 6-foot Sally Mary Blair, a transfer from Wallowa, and Kaitlin Uttenreuther, a transfer from Baker.

"This senior group of girls has been to the state title game the past three years," Baxter said.

"The girls are use to playing at a high level and I think we'll see that again this year.

"We are greatful to play against strong teams in our league. It helps us get better against better competition," Baxter said.

"We'll just take it one game at a time."