Marshfield. We could probably summarize the entire 4A preview with just that word. The Lady Pirates rolled through the 4A classification in 2022, and in 2023 they return all but one starter. This is a Marshfield squad that’s different from the 4A champions of the past. This one has D1 talent across the board and the ability to compete with anybody in the state. As the one-seed in last year’s playoffs, the Lady Pirates knocked off the defending state champion Cascade Cougars by a score of 25-14, 25-23, and 25-13 in the state title match. Cascade was no slouch either, rostering three players who received Second-Team All-State honors or better. Whilst Marshfield comes in the heavy favorite, upsets can and will happen, which is the reason we love Oregon High School Sports.
Teams to Look Out For in 2023
Marshfield – As previously mentioned, the Marshfield Lady Pirates come into the 2023 season as overwhelming favorites. The Coos Bay squad returns State Co-Players of the Year Bridget Gould and Tatum Montiel, with Gould being a University of Oregon commit. Ava Ainsworth also returns to the stacked Pirates lineup after receiving Second-Team All-State honors in the Fall. With the core that Coach of the Year Tammie Montiel has coming back, the next step for the Pirates is to chase a perfect season and another ring. This will be quite the ask of a team who has the likes of Sheldon, Summit, and Crater on its schedule, but we think Marshfield has the talent to do it.
Cascade – If anyone has the motive to withhold Marshfield from back-to-back State Championships, it would be Cascade. The reigning State Runners-Up fell just short of repeating in 2022 and bring back enough talent to return to a match of that magnitude. The Cougars lose First-Team All-State selection Meah Carley but return Jadyn Daviscourt, who landed on the same list, and Annabelle Peterson, who landed on the second team. After falling in last year’s title match, nobody will have more of a chip on their shoulder than this bunch. Cascade’s only loss to 4A competition last season came to Marshfield, and on September 23rd, we get the rematch we’ve all been waiting for.
Crook County – Of all the 4A teams Marshfield faced last season; one could argue that Crook County gave them their toughest match. In the State Quarterfinals, the Cowgirls led Marshfield 2-1 before the Pirates stormed back to win set four 25-17 and set five 15-8. Crook County were the only 4A squad to take Marshfield to five, then following the loss, rallied back together to win the consolation bracket. Prineville has rich volleyball history, and prior to Crook County dropping down to 4A, they had a lot of success at 5A. In 2023, the Cowgirls return all but three players. McKenzie Jonas will be the biggest loss as the First-Team All-State selection is smashing volleyballs at Eastern Oregon. However, the Cowgirls Jaycee Villastrago earned her spot on Honorable Mention last Fall. Since 2005, Crook County has only missed out on a trip to the Elite Eight one time, and we don’t envision them missing the cut in 2023.
Tillamook – The Cheesemakers were a team that flew under our radar last season as they cruised through Cowapa League play en route to earning the four-seed at the State Tournament. The one thing that kept Tillamook from making a run in the postseason was their lack of experience, and in 2023, they return both of their key players. Both Kate Klobas and Dannika Goss return to the hardwood after earning their spot on Second-Team and Honorable Mention All-State, respectively. Tillamook will have nine seniors on their roster this Fall, who all now have State Tournament experience. If the Cheesemakers can continue to build chemistry while playing mistake-free volleyball, they’ll be well on their way to earning a top-four seed once again.
North Bend – We’re starting to wonder if Coos County is just a pipeline for elite volleyball talent. With Marshfield being one of the better teams we’ve seen this decade, North Bend can also be a top-five team in the state this year. The Lady Bulldogs fell in the First Round of the State Playoffs last season, but in 2023 they only lose one player. With a plethora of teams who were ahead of them losing five, six, and even seven seniors, we believe North Bend’s underclassmen will catch up to the pack. A very green group took a set from Marshfield last season and didn’t lose a single match to a non-playoff team. This is a gamble we’re taking with the Bulldogs here, and we’re excited to see how they’ll stack up.
Other teams that are poised to have a strong 2023 include Mazama, Sweet Home, and Philomath.
- Crook County
- North Bend
- Sweet Home
- Marist Catholic
Considered: Estacada, Stayton, Henley, Pendleton