By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Returning six from their 2016 team, the Dallas Dragons opened the season over the Marion Bridge at McKay High School, and found themselves yet again in a familiar spot as they were in last season:
The Tournament Final.
This year, it was against a familiar opponent that they faced with in pool play in Radford were lining up against them for the title.
The envoirnment of the game was that of a playoff game though it was just Dallas’ second ‘offical’ game not including the pool play games Saturday morning when they started the first set.
But, facing a familiar, talented team like the Lady Rams was no easy task no matter what is at stake.
“It’s hard to describe it, it’s tough because we couldn’t beat them in pool play, so coming back into the tournament. Then it’s hard cause you get so much into your head and they comeback and it’s kind of hard,” described Hailey VanWell on playing Radford again.
Dallas would take the first set (score) and built a 15-6 lead on the Rams with frustrations on the Radford sidelines as they called time with the Lady Dragons celebrating what they thought would be a clean sweep for the Title with how they were playing with VanWell, Hannah Locke, Josie Smith, Tristin Savage and company holding firm to the momentum.
“Oh it was awesome, I loved the energy. It was crazy, it was awesome,” VanWell described the environment of the game around them.
With the momentum on their side coming out of the timeout, Dallas expected a fire coming out, but not of this magnitude.
Next thing you knew, it was 23-20 in favor of the Dragons with them calling timeout and momentum was on the side of the Rams in hopes to slow them down a bit by calling time.
It seemed as if it didn’t affect Radford however as they continued their trek to a 25-23 victory seemingly un-phased by the timeout by Dallas and continued that trend into the decisive third set for the championship by jumping out to a 13-8 lead in the first to 15 set.
The Lady Dragons however, digging deep from within themselves, continued to fight as they did throughout the match in trying to win the Tournament Title, cutting the deficit to 14-11 before the Rams delivered the dagger that ended the match and the tournament in favor of Radford.
That fight, is just apart of what they try to do as a team as they now look to build from these first couple of games for their Mid-Willamette Conference opener Tuesday’s at Lebanon (0-2)
“We like to talk to each other and make sure that we keep our energy up, dig deep,” the six-foot-six-inch Savage said of their fight there down the stretch in the three-set battle. “Definitely keeping our momentum up, talking to each other. Just making sure no matter what, even if we’re tired that we’ll stay at the level that we know that we can be at.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald