By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– As they walked out to the court for the third set versus rival Salem Academy and looking over off the side of the court where the crowd of fans were was a little sea of blue in the sea of Pink cheering on the Lady Cavaliers of Blanchet Catholic.
And, using that, they used towards building a 13-10 third set lead after having to rally for much of the last two sets to get back into contention. The girls were feeding off of seeing the cheers and their friends dropping down like the Oregon Duck and did push-ups for how many points they’ve got at that particular moment.
“Oh we love that, our student section definitely pushes us, their energy gives us energy and it helps us play a lot better,” said Kalea Salang. “We love seeing them come out here at away games, I mean our school is a block away but we love seeing them out here.”
Salem Academy, on the other side with their student section all decked out in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, had to do what their rival in the Cavaliers did during the early going and had to rally back.
And with their saying of, ‘One Point At A Time’, a three-point deficit wasn’t that bad as it quickly became a 17-14 lead.
“It’s always a big intense game, a lot of adrenaline and stuff, but that’s when our focus this whole season, our coaches been telling us ‘one point at a time. One point at a time’,” “So I feel like we had it drilled into us that we’re used to it by now so in those one-point situations it comes naturally.”
But Blanchet, trying to force a fourth set as the Lady Crusaders did in their first meeting on September 5, cut it to a 23-22 deficit with the game in the balance and had to put that saying that has been drilled into their heads
“Definitely wanted to get the win on that,” smiled and laughed Baker. “Like I said, the adrenaline was pumping, just harness it and we wanted to get that win so we decided to calm down, take deep breathes and do our thing out there.
They stayed the course and capitalized on a Lady Cavs service error to set up the sweep of Blanchet Catholic 25-19, 25-23, 25-22 to improve to go 15-1 and 7-0 in PacWest Conference-play and go a full two-games ahead of the Cavaliers and Scio with roughly three-weeks left in the season.
With Blanchet Catholic (9-5, 5-2) in a fight for second-place with the Lady Loggers (10-4, 5-2) and Jefferson a game behind them at 4-3 entering the league playoffs this year while hoping something in front of them happens to get the number one spot in conference, the Lady Cavaliers know it starts with them being leveled-head as they saw Salem Academy did Thursday evening.
“I think we just have to stay leveled headed, we get into our own minds a lot,” said Salang. “A lot of the times when we lose, it’s our own mistakes it’s not the other team. Our team, we’re definitely a silly team, we laugh a lot, like we’re so funny.
“So in games where we get tense up, that’s not us, so when we’re just us and we’re silly, we’re loose, that’s where we play our best.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald