By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Coming off a 2-16 overall and a 1-11 Tri-Rivers League season in 2015-2016, it was hard to believe that under first-year Head Coach Julie Summers that Regis Volleyball would be much better in 2017.
More than they did that, the Rams found themselves in a league playoff game last season, going 6-12 overall and 5-7 in the TRL, defeating Central Linn, the second-place team in the league three sets to one and even pushed TRL-Champs St. Paul and third-place East Linn Christian to five sets late in the season.
And with the success from last season, the girls are talking and the numbers are growing entering the second-year under Summers.
“We brought in new ideas and just taught the girls the basic stuff and showed them a bunch of potential that they had that they didn’t realize that they even had,” said Summers. “So it was really good, I couldn’t ask for a better season last year and this year it’s looking promising for us.
“We have more kids this year so that’s good. So I feel like the reason why that’s happening is because we did have a successful year. Kids are talking about how much fun they had, how much they’re seeing that we’re improving and winning games and stuff like that.”
Since the 2013-2014 season, the last time Regis made it to the Field of 16 of the State Playoffs, the two-years leading up to Summers arrival last season weren’t pretty for the Volleyball team.
The Rams were 6-31 overall and were next-to-last in 2014 (2-12), and last in 2015 in the TRL with Summers coming in with a young coaching staff filled with first-time, first-year coaches below her.
A daunting chance, but the girls embraced the opportunity to learn and get better with it working out for the better.
“I think we responded really well, everyone was willing to be positive and we all were ready to have a good season under our belts,” said senior Lily Fery on her junior season with a new coaching staff. “So I think it went really well.”
“I thought it was incredible to see everyone respond so quickly in the span of one season,” continued Fery on the success of 2016.
As they prepared for the Fall, they took part in Blanchet Catholic’s summer league; taking on schools from different classifications:
Cascade from 4A, the Lady Cavailers and Salem Academy from 3A, North Salem from 6A; the Rams took the Lady Vikings to three sets in the last summer league night a few weeks ago, but it’s all in preparation for what is to come this Fall.
“They were definitely a little intimated walking in at first, but I told them, I was like, ‘We have nothing to lose’. I said, ‘you don’t get better by playing teams you know you can win. You get better by playing those tougher teams. Getting the experience of the bigger schools’.
“And I told them, ‘We have just as much chance as they do. So if we go out there and work hard and sure, we’ll take some bumps along the way but we’re going to be stronger and better and we’re going to surprise ourselves’.”
And they certainly improved and showed that they can compete as they prepare for a similar task in the non-league schedule leading into the league season where they play in tournaments at Cascade, North Marion, Salem Academy tournaments that’ll feature those bigger schools that’ll test them along with competing with familiar foes from the 2A level in the East Linn Christian Tournament September 16.
With all of that, it’s kind of easy to see why there’s so much excitement ahead for the ballers of the Rams Volleyball program for this upcoming season.
“I think with how well we did last season, we’re all are so excited for this season that all of the excitement from last season just kind of builds up from over the summer and summer league definitely help build up, the excitement,” said Fery. “So everything, compare to last year, everything is just elevated.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald