By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– There was a lot at stake for Cascade and North Marion Girls Volleyball in both teams Tuesday’s Oregon West Conference and regular season finale.
For the Cougars, to keep up and overtake Philomath for the OWC-Title; for the Lady Huskies, a chance for the playoffs as they battle Stayton for third-place in conference.
With the game tied at 9, Cascade woke up and quickly built a 16-9 lead in a matter of what felt like seconds.
Umbenhower was an important part of the backline in the opening set to neutralize the offensive attack by Cascade as Lindy Wing’s strong play to lead a strong front line helped North Marion knot things up at 16 a few plays later.
“It takes a lot of energy,” said the Huskies Wing. “But once we get going, we just go on a roll and then we just get energy, everyone gets fired up. Points after points, it’s exciting.”
But the Cougars would win the opening duel and built a 18-8 lead to start the second set.
The Huskies mount a mindset rally however, scoring nine of the games next 13 points to make Cascades lead 22-17 before the Cougs called for a moment as they took the second set 25-17.
“That’s what we needed to do,” said Cascade’s Meriah Kindell. “Because we’re making too many unforced errors on our side and we just needed to slide out and get the momentum back.”
North Marion weren’t packing up just yet entering the third set.
Down 6-3, they rallied on yet another roll to take an 11-7 lead in the third set as they looked to force a fourth set.
Coming out of the time out, looking for a spark that happened, Cascade rallied to take a 14-13 lead.
The lead ballooned to 17-13 before time was called by the Lady Huskies.
Unfortunately, North Marion couldn’t duplicate what the Cougars did before with their post-timeout performance as Cascade completed the 25-21, 25-17, 25-17 Senior Night sweep to gain their fourth straight title.
“It’s definitely rewarding, I am so happy that we pulled out that win. Because it was important,” said Kindell.
With the Huskies, being in the hunt for a playoff seeding, knows that playing Philomath, the Cougars and even Stayton, will help them if they get the nod if not help them moving into next year.
“It kind of shows us the competition that we need to be playing at,” said North’s Ally Umbenhower. “Cascade being a high-ranked team and us not being as high. But us playing teams like Philomath, Stayton and Stayton feels like prepares us for a play-in game because that’s the type of energy we’ll be playing against.”
Cascade is expecting to be a higher seed in the playoffs, finishing 15-4 in the regular season and 9-1 in conference and rebounding off a tough loss is great momentum for the playoffs.
“It’s great, it feels great,” said Cougars Head Coach Cristina Williams on the difference from Thursday to Tuesday Night. “That was a hard loss for them, they came back and worked really, really hard in practice this week and they were ready. The seniors wanted to prove it and they wanted that league championship, they played well and they deserved that.”
“I just think we need to keep working hard in practice and still keep our goals in mind and don’t stop this momentum that we have for the rest of the season,” added Kindell on how they can carry this momentum into the postseason.
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Few Pictures From Tuesday’s Match (Pictures by Jeremy McDonald)