Jaguars cap stellar season with a state tournament berth

Hard work and a burning desire to meet the goals that they had laid out for themselves led to another successful season for the Century volleyball team.

After going undefeated in the Pacific Conference last year, the Jaguars wanted to do the same again this season. Century wanted to take it one step further, though. They wanted to finally qualify for the Elite 8 of the OSAA Class 6A playoffs after just missing the quarterfinals last season.

“I have really hard-working girls,” Century coach Jamie Lentz said. “I have a couple of phenomenal athletes and the girls who are in this program were willing to put in whatever it took to get to the goals that they had set. Every year we set goals before the season and say this is what we want to achieve and I always respond with ‘OK, this is what you’re going to have to do in order to make that goal.’

“Without a second thought, they just dove right in and did everything that they had to do to make it to that point.”

After going undefeated in league play during the regular season, Century stormed its way into the state tournament by beating Canby 25-23, 25-17, 25-14 in the first round of the state playoffs, and then topping Sprague 25-15, 25-23, 25-23 in the second round.

Once the Jaguars got to the quarterfinals, it was their misfortune to draw Jesuit — the eventual state champions — in the first match.

“Nerves definitely got the better of us to start that match up,” Lentz said. “Then we were never able to quite get everything going and everybody on and doing what we need to do.

“Also, Jesuit is just a really good volleyball team. They play great defense and their serving was excellent. They went on and won the tournament, so obviously we were playing a really good team.”

Century’s 11-25, 17-25, 18-25 loss to Jesuit dropped the Jaguars into the consolation bracket, where they faced Sheldon the next day. Lentz liked the way her team was ready to play even at 10 a.m.

“I don’t think it was hard for our girls,” Lentz said. “The next morning they were really focused and they came together and were ready to win some matches even though we were in the consolation side of the bracket.”

The Jaguars had a difficult time getting into the flow of the match, though, eventually losing 17-25, 29-27, 17-25, 20-25 and ending their season.

“Sheldon is a really good team,” Lentz said. “We weren’t able to make adjustments as quickly as we could’ve.”

Next year, the Jaguars will return many stars of their defense. They will have to figure out a way to replace several offensive players and the team leaders who were so critical to Century’s success this season, though.

“We’re losing quite a few of our big hitters,” Lentz said. “We’re losing all three of our captains. We’re losing a lot of our front row power and our blocking. That will be a little bit of a struggle to fill in. All of our defensive specialists and our setter are returning, though. That will be a huge asset for us.

“We’re going to struggle filling the holes that the seniors are going to leave in the front row. But, I think it could still be a very successful team. We’re just going to have to do a lot of work in the offseason with those hitters.”

As she looks ahead to next season, Lentz cannot help looking back on the 2012 season and thinking about how her players were able to achieve their goals.

“Obviously we would have liked to have won a match or two, but it was the program’s first experience of making the Elite 8,” Lentz said. “I definitely expected some nerves and butterflies. And we faced some really good teams. It was a good experience for the girls.

“I’m definitely proud of them. The seniors on this team have been working for this specific goal of making it to the Elite 8 since their freshman year. I’m very proud of the two undefeated league seasons and finally pushing through the playoffs to make it to the Elite 8.”

Go to top