By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
An injury ended McNary’s run in the first volleyball tournament of the season prematurely.
After defeating Mountain View 2-0 (25-23, 25-22) and Churchill 2-0 (25-23, 25-22) in pool play of the Rogue Valley Classic in Medford on Saturday, Sept. 16, the Lady Celts had to play the rest of the day without senior Valerie Diede.
McNary split its next pool play match, 25-17, 22-25, against Willamette and then lost its first bracket game of the single elimination tournament 2-0 (19-25, 20-25) to Cascade Christian, a 3A school in Medford that finished second in the 16-team tournament, falling to Bend 2-1 in the championship game.
“In the afternoon we just lost a little bit of momentum,” McNary head coach Crystal DeMello said. “We had a great experience. We had the overnight stay in Medford, which is always fantastic for team bonding. We like doing that at the beginning of the season.
“That’s the first time that we’ve had to play that many games in a row. It was good for the girls to find out how well they can maintain a level of play. We ran a couple of different offenses and we ran four different lineups in those. It was a good mix and a great opportunity to move girls around and see what fits and might be best against other opponents.”
The Rogue Valley Classic was the first of four Saturday tournaments the Lady Celts will play in this season, the South Albany State Preview on Sept. 23, the Westview Tournament on Sept. 30 and the West Linn Tournament on Oct. 14.
McNary was also shorthanded in its league match at West Albany on Thursday, Sept. 14 as setter Samantha Van Voorhis was out with an illness. Sophia Salinas, a senior libero, stepped up in her place.
“We didn’t know that Sam wouldn’t be able to play until after warmups,” DeMello said. “Sophia was ready to go and that’s a characteristic you love in a setter. She did great. But that’s still a tough change when you have someone that’s used to being there six times on the court.”
The Lady Celts won the first two games 27-25 and 25-18. However, West Albany grabbed the momentum in the third set and never let it go, winning three straight, 25-10, 25-16, 15-10, to take the match.
“It’s tough to get that momentum back when it’s gone,” DeMello said. “We made some defensive adjustments and it just wasn’t quick enough. We’re excited to see them again.”