By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– While most of the teams at the Dayton Tournament had some form of game action already, either through a jamboree or a actual game; the Lady Cats of Gervais did not. Saturday’s tournament action was the first game-action the young Gervais team had all year.
And though they struggled out of the gate versus Dayton, the Cougars answered back with two competive 22-25, 23-25 sets against Catlin Gabel; the latter of the two sets saw Gervais battled back to tie the game up several times before the Lady Eagles used a run towards the end of the match to seal the win.
“The rebound was really good because we got back to talking more,” said Alyssa Ventura following the game versus Catlin Gaebl. “I think the first game was more of a practice run with us and we weren’t talking as much, but as soon as came together, talked about it, talked about what we were doing wrong but then still found a way.
“And then we got back onto our feet and we started to get hits down, we’re started getting blocks, started getting good plays off of everything.”
Against Salem Academy, another tough look for the young Lady Cats, they picked up the pace a little bit and carried the momentum they had versus the Eagles into the game against the Lady Crusaders as they started to pick up some confidence entering bracket play against Pleasant Hill.
“I think we did a lot better. Once we started to cheer, we started to get our momentum up,” said Alicia Martinez. “In our first game, we were kind of you know then you got more and more confidnece in each game. Every point that we would get, we would cheer loudly to keep our momentum going.”
One of the girls that led the vocal leadership role and was one of the players all over the place along with Martinez and company was Abby Saalfeld.
Saalfeld, a junior who’s been on Varsity since her freshman year, credited her leadership on being around her older sister Noami Saalfeld before she graduated in 2016 as she kept the positive vibes rolling with her teammates on the court.
“I was kind of a loud mouth anyways but I think it’s just once you just start talking you just start getting use to it,” said Abby Saalfeld. “I’m just trying to do my best and try to be a leader since I’m now a upperclassman, so now I have a say into.
“I don’t know, I just want to bring it up especially with the two freshman that we have. It’s just trying to coach them, just helping them grow the best I can.”
Those two freshman are Mary Davidson and Lily Welburn as the Cougars bolster four seniors on the roster and Erika Rambeau being the only other junior outside of Saalfeld.
And though Gervais walked away the day 0-4, they did pick up some things to improve upon before their next game against Scio on September 5 at Scio High School.
“Just more attacking and strategic analysis of like seeing the open spots and pushing them or dumping them and hitting those spots and mainly that strategic hits, I think that’ll really help us,” said Saalfeld as some of the Gervais team stuck around watching Salem Academy and Scio play in the Championship and Consolation Finals of the tournament.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald