Salem Academy Takes Third Crusader Invitational In Four Years

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SALEM, Ore.–  For Salem Academy Volleyball, playing against some of the toughest competition around is no big surprise.  This year alone, the Lady Crusaders already played play-off teams like Dayton, Cascade and Sisters entering Saturday’s hosted tournament.

Sydney Brown, who was playing in her fourth Crusader Invitiational remembers the good times as her Salem Academy team and teammates wrapped up their first bracket game win Saturday afternoon over Plesant Hill.

“I made Varsity as a freshman so I have so many memories from this tournament, from freshman year we won and that was super exciting,” said Brown on playing in the tournament.  “Then last year we won it again after losing sophomore year.  I’m really exciting for what this tournament has to offer one last time.  It’s kind of sad, it’s bittersweet.”

During the second set against the Lady Billy Goats, fatigue was their obviously as they were wrapping up their fourth game of the day up 8-7 against Pleasant Hill before pulling away for the 25-12 set 2 sweeping win.

“You know we just really dug in and said,”We’re in this together and we’re here to win’, and we just wanted to be there for each other and just focus on the mental part of staying up and not letting down no matter what.  Not letting any bad ref calls or anything get in the way, so we stayed together.=,” said Paige Boles who had 16 assist in that game.

They swept the third-ranked team in the State in Coquille 25-17, 25-18 before dropping their first bracket set to seventh-ranked Creswell before bouncing back to take the 23-25, 25-20, 15-12 match win for the Championship.

“Creswell was tough competition! But we stayed solid and played our game 1 point at a time,” said Head Coach Melissa Holman on social media on the championship match.  “We had to stay focused on our side of the court. Not allowing ourselves to get worked up, or flustered when they got a good kill. The girls remained calm the ENTIRE match. It didn’t matter if we were down points or up. We were there to play.   We knew all we could do is our best and not sweat the rest.  We fought and never stopped fighting

“It felt AMAZING to win again. Especially the way we won. Calm, focused and fierce. Loved every minute of it.”

Now that the tournament is completed with the trophy staying home, Salem Academy will be hosting Colton Tuesday and then rival Blanchet Catholic in what is to be excepting to be for the top seed in the PacWest Conference Thursday at Salem Academy.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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