By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Following their 25-14, 25-21, 25-11 sweep of Chemawa at Chemawa Indian School Tuesday, the Cougars used that momentum for Wednesday’s game as they took sets 1 and 2 decisively 25-8, 25-5 thanks to a good service game against the Lady Braves to open the match.
“Our serves were going in and that was our main goal was our goals to go in,” said Natasha Oral on the serving of Gervais Wednesday night.
Entering the third set, Chemawa made things interesting by captalizing on the Cougars mental mistakes and service errors to build a 7-4 lead, but the thing that made Gervais successful Wednesday came around when Natasha Oral took over the serving duties.
Oral had two service errors, mixed in with a Bella Vasquez block for a point, helped the Cougs turn a 15-all tie into a 20-15 lead; and with back-to-back Braves errors made it 22-15 in favor of Gervais before Chemawa got a point to slow the run a bit.
But the Lady Braves couldn’t answer the bell to extend the match as a error allowed the Cougars to ice the 25-16 third set win to seal the sweep as they battled through the last set without their setter on the court.
“It felt scary but it felt good to comeback. We found our energy and kept going,” Oral said of staying strong through the adversity of the injury of their setter and the third-set push from Chemawa.
“It was just by digging in and I think it was also too, our coach let us figure it out as as well with no setter too and it forced us to crack down on ourselves and really push through and get this next one,” adds Abby Saalfeld. “It just kind of let us play and it was nice, it felt like we achieved something.”
With a few games left in their season and them still mathematically alive for the league playoffs, sitting a game-out from that necessary fourth-place spot to continue their season beyond October 19 at 3-5 in the PacWest and current fourth-place Jefferson at 4-4, it’s just a matter of polishing up the little things like the mental errors and just focus on the game itself.
“Just forget everything in the other world and just bring it, focus on the Volleyball game and focus,” said Oral.
As for now, as they recover from playing six-sets in about 24 hours, it’s time to turn their focus to Monday’s game at home versus Salem Academy. First serve is at 630pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald