By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Entering the consolation final against each other at McKay High School, 6A’s North Salem and 4A’s Stayton were coming off their first wins of the season.
For the Lady Vikings, after picking up a set win in pool play against a the defending PacWest Champions in Blanchet Catholic; North Salem picked up their first ‘official’ set win over Woodburn in the Sliver bracket of the tournament in the first set.
That first set win started off as a back-and-forth affair, the Lady Bulldogs rallied for a 5-4 lead before Marta Jantze tied it after sending a lazering fastball that Woodburn couldn’t properly handle and following a Eve Manumaleuna block, it was 12-9 North Salem.
The Bulldogs then tied it up at 12, but the Lady Viks used a run to build a 19-12 lead en route to a 25-17 set win over Woodburn and North Salem used that momentum for a 25-8 set two and sweep of the Bulldogs.
And that in itself was a learning experience for the North Salem Vikings of how to stay positive through the adversity of a team battling with them and fighting through it.
“So we’ve had trouble staying positive and I know that this game we knew that when we stayed positive, we can play good and we can hit very well,” said Jantze. “So what I think what we did was we realized that if they got more than one-point at a time, one or two-points at a time, then that’s unacceptable so we didn’t let that happen and then once we got a run, we kept it and made sure that they didn’t get back up.”
And for Jantze, she had a few friends on that Woodburn team; and the junior wouldn’t have had any other way than to beat friends.
“It was great, it feels great, espically cause I have a lot of friends on the Woodburn team and I love them but, it’s always better better beating your friends than someone you don’t know,” smiled Jantze.
For the Eagles, they had to battle for their first victory of 2017 against Madison.
The Senators took set one over Stayton as revenge for the Lady Eagles sweeping them in pool play; but however, Stayton answered back with a 25-9 set two rally before using that momentum to veto off a charging Madison squad from taking the third set with a 15-11 result for their first win of the season.
“I feel like it really boosted our confidence because we know we can do it, but sometimes we don’t show that we can,” said the Eagles Samatha Szmyd on the win against Madison. “And it really helped with our confidence and it helped us in our next game so we can take it.”
As both teams matched up, the power hitters in Manumaleuna and Jantze and the athleticism of girls around them were on North’s side with the balanced team in Stayton on the other side.
However, whether it was fatigue from playing four-games for North Salem that opened the door for the Eagles or Stayton riding that momentum train, but Stayton would sweep the Vikings, limiting North’s power and athleticism at bay as the Eagles improve to 2-2 on the season as the Lady Viks drop to 1-4 on the year.
Manumaleuna pointed to how seeing Stayton’s mojo was chipping away at their confidence in their game with the Eagles, but it’s just apart of the learning process as they are five-games into the Scott Kirchner-era at North Salem in sustaining that confidence throughout the set and throughout the whole match itself.
“It definitely gives us a taste of what winning feels like and that’s what we like, so we’re going to keep striving for that,” said Manumaleuna, the Viks are off to Sprague for a double-dual with Forest Grove and Sprague Tuesday evening in the tough Greater Valley Conference. “And so having that winning mindset will help us to stay focus and keep our confidence up and we’ll be fine.”
As the Eagles now prepare to continue their preseason schedule with Sweet Home Tuesday, Molalla Thursday and the Cascade Tournament next Saturday it’s all about keeping their energy up as it saw it’s peaks and valleys during the tournament Saturday.
“We stayed competitive throughout the whole day and fought for every point. Overall we had a strong day and improved but also saw things we need to work on,” said Stayton’s Emma Lindemann. “Going into next week we can improve on keeping our energy up and never backing down on a team. I think this weekend has only made us a better and stronger team.”
Marri Martinez of Stayton too added that facing the North Salem’s, the Madison’s (twice), and the athleticism of Radford has made them better as a team as they look to go beyond the 4A Play-in round from 2016 this year.
“I think it sets us up because we haven’t had teams hit on us that hard and make us move a lot and they definitely did,” said Martinez. “They made us move and talk, communication.”
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Pictures of North Salem and Stayton (Photos By Jeremy McDonald)