Contributed photo/Heather Anthony
Volleyball players from across the state were in action in the fourth annual Oregon Athletic Coaches Association volleyball series Saturday in La Grande. In the group photo are, standing,, from left to right, Haven Claire (Joseph), Hannah Mizuta (Vale), coach Shannon Steele (Vale), Elizabeth Brentano (St. Paul), Ally Cooney (Joseph), Megan Miller (South Albany). In the bottom row are, from left, Claire Hammond (Crane), Sydney Reed (Dufur), and Drew Dobney (Vale).
Through her playing career, Dufur High School graduate Sydney Reed has played under the bright lights, handling pressure with a sense of calm.
This past Saturday, Reed donned her Ranger volleyball uniform once again for play in the fourth annual Oregon Athletic Coaches Association all-star volleyball series Saturday at Quinn Coliseum in La Grande.
In all, 33 volleyball athletes, representing 4A to 1A schools, competed in four matches.
“Going in as a 1A player was a bit intimidating at first when there were so many 4A girls there,” Reed said. “But once I overcame that, and just played my game, it got a lot better.”
The 33 players were split onto four teams and were led by Vale head coach Shannon Steele, Burns head coach Paula Toney, North Douglas head coach Anne Campbell and Weston-McEwen head coach Shawn White.
Reed, who played under Steele, helped lead her team to a pair of wins, including a 22-25, 25-17, 17-15 win over Team Toney in the championship, the last match of the afternoon.
In the event’s first contest, Team Steele dropped Team Campbell in two sets, 25-18 and 26-24 to advance to the finals.
Team Toney defeated Team White 26-24, 25-18, and Team White picked up a 25-21, 18-25, 16-14 win against Team Campbell in another match.
Playing alongside Reed on Team Steele were, Haven Claire (Joseph), Hannah Mizuta (Vale), Elizabeth Brentano (St. Paul), Ally Cooney (Joseph), Megan Miller (South Albany), and Claire Hammond (Crane).
“I was able to set all the way around to some good hitters,” Reed said. “Playing at the all-star tournament was so much fun. I met some really cool girls, and some who I’ll be going to school with next year.”
The only other Big Sky Conference representative invited to play on Saturday was co-Player of the Year, Megan Hauner, of Arlington.
She was on Team Toney.
“I was honored to represent the Big Sky Conference along with Megan,” Reed said.
The senior setter, a first-team all-league winner and co-Player of the Year this past fall, received the highest honor of her career by opposing coaches across the state, a second-team all-state award for her play with the Rangers.
In her final three years as a full-time starter, Reed captained teams that amassed a 62-28 overall record, a 30-4 league standing and won 194 sets out of 299.
She has one district championship to her credit, along with a pair of runner-up finishes and she was also part of group that ended up second place in the state tournament in 2014.
Playing in an all-star setting was the perfect bow on a stellar career.
“I think this was a perfect way to wrap up my career with Dufur athletics,” Reed said. “I’ll be able to look back on the past four years and feel proud of all my accomplishments.”
Entering her junior season with a new coach Jody Weaver, Reed’s play did not waver.
Reed helped the Rangers to 66 set wins and 11 sweeps through the season and she displayed an all-around skillset on the court with 496 assists in 30 matches, 59 aces, 62 kills, 113 digs and three blocks to pick up first-team all-Big Sky honors after an honorable mention selection in 2014.
“Sydney was a huge part of our team that year as the only setter,” Weaver said. “We relied on her to run our offense and was a consistent leader every day.”
After losing all-state hitter Tianna Ellis at the start of this past year, Reed worked diligently with a new group of hitters and helped the Rangers to second place at the district tournament and a 15-win season.
On the year, Reed converted 90 percent of her serves with 61 aces and she committed 42 errors on 408 attempts.
She also added some extra offense into her repertoire, racking up a career-high 77 kills and 39 errors on 335 total swing attempts.
At the net, she posted another career-high of 513 assists with 81 perfect passes and 273 good passes, and added 119 digs, another career-best.
In addition to her co-Player of the Year status, Reed finished her career as a three-time all-league winner, adding back-to-back first-team awards as an upperclassman.
She also added a rare athletic accomplishment of earning Ranger of the Year honors in 2016 and 2017.
“Sydney has been a huge part of the Ranger Athletic throughout her high school career,” said Dufur coach and administrator Jack Henderson. “She worked hard each day and improved a great deal as a result. She was a pleasure to be around and a joy to work with.”