By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore– It was a battle as Cascade made the 6.6 mile voyage from Turner to Stayton for their Oregon West Conference rivalry on the court.
It’s hard to explain this rivalry when you ask both sides.
“I don’t know if I can explain it,” laughed Stayton’s Alyssa Lindemann. “It’s just always been a huge rivalry every since way before my freshman year.”
“It’s kind of a good rivalry, I mean it’s a friendly one,” said Cascade’s Head Coach Christina Williams. “It’s because both coaches have coached both players on each side. It’s always a pride thing to win and it’s hard to play on our court and it’s hard to play here in Stayton. It’s a fun battle.”
You saw this battle from the opening serve as the Cougars rallied to take a 16-15 lead after being down 15-12 moments early before Stayton regained a 2p-16 lead late in the first set.
Cascade rallied to knot it back up at 21, but it was Stayton that took the opening set 25-23.
“I think we really stepped up our game that set because we knew it was going to be a hard game,” said Lindemann on stepping up to their Turner counterparts play. “If we got the first one out of the way, it’ll be a lot easier.”
Wanting that set back, Cascade jumped out to a 10-3 second set lead.
But the Eagles rallied and cut the lead to 13-10 a few plays later.
The Cougars would prove that their early large lead was too much for the 25-15 win and carried that momentum lead for a set three win.
“We started out pretty slow but I think when we come together we talk about where we need to work on,” said Cascade’s Meriah Kindell. “One of the biggest things was focusing on each of the little things, don’t do anything crazy, play our game like we know how to play like a team.
“We didn’t freak out, when we keep our focus that’s when we play well. That’s how we win those rallies.”
But down in the fourth set, Stayton rallied themselves and was within two, 15-13, to force the Cougars to take a timeout as momentum was slowly coming back in favor of the Eagles.
“We were trying not to be down on ourselves,” said Lindemann. “We knew we had to come back and win this game to make it to a fifth, but I think that for the most part we stayed really excited the whole game because we knew that this was our last change as seniors to beat them.”
Stayton would keep it to within two of Cascade for much of the rest of the fourth set before tying it at 18 and taking a 21-20 lead soon after.
Back and forth it went, as it did during the first set, 23-22 Stayton before the Cougars knotted it back up at 23, then a 24-23 lead in favor of Cascade.
That’s when Tori Lewis would found just enough daylight for the game winning point as Stayton protested the result of the play for one of her 22 kills.
This battle testiness for the Cascade will help out come playoff time said Kindell.
“I think it’s super important especially because as we go up, teams become faster and that’s when we need to focus even more and need to play our hearts out and really come prepare to play.”
Kindell had 39 of the team’s 43 assist in the game, Mariah Hollenbeck had the other four to go with her three service aces and four kills.
For Stayton, as they battle for a chance to make it to the playoffs, they know competing against a team like Cascade is something like what they’re going to face once they get to that point.
“ We know we’re going to have to keep stepping our game up like this, every single game and go hard every game, we can’t have an off-game,” said Lindemann.
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UP NEXT- Stayton- @ YC (10/6) 6p Cascade- vs. Newport (10/6) 6p
Photos By Jeremy McDonald