By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Walking into the gym for the last time for practice, for a game is always a tough pill to swallow no matter the circumstance.
Whether it’s for the playoffs or the end of the regular season, the emotions are there; with the fact that the end is near for the year.
Especially if you’re a senior like the few seniors on the North Salem Volleyball team who saw their Viking Volleyball careers come to a close versus Sprague Thursday night.
Delaney Mack, who’s only been at North for a little more than an year and was a key player on the front line Thursday night, described playing for North Salem as a amazing atmosphere.
“It’s really different because I came from Woodburn, it’s a totally different atmosphere, it’s amazing. They truly accepted me as family, it was great,” she said. “I feel like there’s more school spirit here and your really proud to be a Viking.
“I know I haven’t been a Viking for too long, I’m so proud.”
Walking into the locker room and going through their pregame routine, the seniors were a little more alert and ready to go knowing it’s the last pregame they’ll go through as volleyball players at North Salem.
“We were definitely emotional and we were just really excited for our last game but really sad at the same time because we would have to say goodbye to all of our friends,” said Sydnee Rupp.
The seniors were honored following them running out of the human tunnel from their meeting room and the Vikings battled in the first set 25-19 defeat.
But behind strong play from seniors like Mack and Emma Moeltto, the underclassmen like Marta Jantzi and company followed the seniors lead as they led the Olympians from the south side of town 16-11 mindset.
“It’s really important because they know that we’re not stuck in that old view of, ‘Oh North Salem, it’s an automatic win’,” said Mack. “Like we actually made them fight for it.
“I hope that the girls who are coming up to Varsity next year and all these kids that they truly accept that we’re going to fight and not just give up.”
Rupp, who missed most of the second set and some of the third due to a hard hit to the head in the opening set, described the frustrations of not playing through the pain to help her team in the remainder of the game; but she knew the importance of leaving the message of supporting your team to the younger players in other areas as well.
“It really frustrated me but I believed in my teammates and I knew that they could achieve it and they even did better than I wasn’t playing,” said Rupp. “And that’s what good sportsmanship is about: to cheering them on and knowing that they can do it.”
Sprague tied it at 16, but North continued to challenge the Olys back-and-forth as they narrowly missed the second set going their way 25-22.
Entering the third set, Sprague proved too much as they flexed their muscle for 25-8 set win to sweep the Lady Viks on North’s Senior Night.
As the Olympians celebrated on the Vikings court on the season they had, the emotions flowed out of the seniors of the Vikings.
Some were tears of sorrow, knowing that they’re careers came to an end; maybe too soon. But there were also some tears of pride and how proud they were about their team.
“I’m so proud of my team, it’s amazing,” said Mack. “I really wished we pushed the game to get the win but I take it as we can. I have fun, that’s all that matters.”
For others, it’s all about the hard work that comes with wearing the Black and Red.
“What it means, you need to put it the work and always work hard and never give up and believe that you can do anything,” said Rupp.
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Few Pictures from Senior Night (Pictures By Jeremy McDonald)