CORVALLIS — The accolades keep piling up for Corvallis volleyball — and deservedly so for the Class A champs. 

Seniors Hannah Martin and Hannah Hutchison and sophomore Madeline Gilder were named all-state for the Blue Devils, while Isabel Evans joined the trio on the first-team all-conference list. Senior Kylie Pease received an all-conference honorable mention.

Martin also brought home the Southwest A MVP award as Corvallis' setter.

"Hannah (Martin) is one of the most consistent players I can remember us ever having and that's not just setting, but serving and hitting. She's extremely consistent," Corvallis coach Laurie Jones said. "I was hard on her, too. I had a lot of expectations for her (this season). There was a lot that I put on her plate this year.

"She just handled it with grace, was competitive with it and absorbed everything she possibly could. I think the fact that she got this award just reflects all of that."

Add that to the first-place crown the Blue Devils brought home from Bozeman last Saturday after topping Billings Central 25-18, 25-21, 25-21 in the state championship match, and it's no wonder why the Corvallis volleyball bus got a police and firefighter parade escort back into the small Bitterroot town late Saturday night.

There was some precious cargo on board.

"All of us are still kind of processing it, this actually happened, it's a dream come true," Evans said of the state title and the ensuing recognition of achievement. 

Evans, for her part, played big all state tournament. The 6-foot-3 middle blocker led the Blue Devils with 16 kills and two blocks in Friday's semifinal match against Billings Central. In the title match, also against the Rams, she added seven kills and a team-high five blocks, including the match-winning stuff.

In fact, just about the only thing that hasn't gone Corvallis' way, perhaps, is that Evans didn't wind up on the all-state squad with her three other teammates.

"In my opinion, she should have been first-team all-state, but it's not just my vote, so that was a little disappointing," coach Jones said of Evans. "She has been putting up monster stats and has been an impact player. 

"I just told her, 'You're part of an all-state team and you're playing like an all-state athlete."

Sometimes with a team full of all-stars, there's going to be a deserving few that miss the cut.

And the Blue Devils were indeed loaded with talent. 

For instance, in in the State A semifinal against Billings last Friday, Martin doled out 40 assists in the five-set win. Along with Evans' 16 kills, Gilder added 11 and Hutchison had 9. In the title game, Gilder led the trio with 10, while Evans and Hutchison each had seven.

"Everyone knows her as a hitter, but in practice and in years past when I had her, I would have her set just to know how to set, just to push her, and then I'd have her jump serve," coach Jones said of Gilder. "With her, it's constantly finding ways to push her and keep her growing, because she's so advanced for her age just being a sophomore."

For Hutchison, coach Jones said she felt like the senior tapped into her potential she's shown throughout her high school career.

"Hannah grew a lot this year. I was actually just talking about her two minutes ago and (they) were saying how (they) thought she was the most improved player," Jones said. "She had all this raw talent, it was just a matter of tapping into it."

And it all adds up — the all-state accolades and the state title — to a successful first varsity season for coach Jones. The longtime assistant to coach Kasey Arceniega for the last 10 seasons was voted Bitterroot's Best coach by Ravalli County before the volleyball season started. 

Jones confirmed the consensus by leading Corvallis to a 20-1 overall record, its first state title since 2013 and just the school's second volleyball crown overall.

"She's so awesome. She came in, said this is the program, this is what we're doing. From the first day of practice she brought us into the locker room and said, 'We want state, here's how we're going to get here, here's the team to beat: Billings Central," Evans said of Jones. "What made her successful... was every time we'd be conditioning or we'd get tired or we were doing a frustrating drill, she'd ask us what is Billings Central doing? 

"...She just really found a way to connect with us on a personal level and find what drove us personally."

That could mean Corvallis might want to clear room in the trophy case for the future, too.

Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.