By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Both teams knew what was at stake entering the first-round of the PacWest Conference League playoffs Saturday afternoon at Blanchet Catholic.
Winner between Scio and the Lady Cavailers would face Salem Academy for first in conference Tuesday night at Salem Academy and already move on to the State Tournament; losers will have to face the winner of Jefferson-Gervais to qualify for State.
Blanchet took care of business in the first two sets, taking them 25-14, 25-15 before the Lady Loggers came out with a 9-5 lead to start the third set.
The struggles of Scio wasn’t because of effort, effort was there, but it was just communication as their Head Coach got after them about picking it up and cleaning it up throughout the match.
“I definitely think that we had a lot of miscommunication,” said Scio’s Dajia Smith. “I mean people were going 100-percent for everything, when we went to cover, we stopped and we won’t go for it and that was really hurting us because they’re really good at jumping the ball.”
Their struggles however came back, allowed the Cavailers to claw back into the game and sustain momentum for the remainder of the 25-19 Blanchet set win to complete the sweep.
For the Lady Cavailers, everything was on point though throughout the three-set sweep from hitting to serving. In terms of serving, whenever Carolina Ditzler was sending it over the net, the serves challenged Scio in returning it over on a regular basis in Blanchet’s sweep.
“It was really important, we needed the mindset…before the game we were talking, we’ve been practicing leading up to this and so we thought our skills were there but we needed to make sure that the energy was there too,” said Ditzler. “We trusted each other to play our game.”
And now that they’re moving on to duplicate their PacWest Conference League Playoffs success from 2016 to 2017, the Lady Cavs will hope to unhend the Lady Crusaders from the top spot in time for the State Playoffs on October 28.
Though they are hoping that third-times the charm in defeating Salem Academy after losing in five in their first meeting and in three the second go-around, they too are expecting to carry Saturday’s energy over to Tuesday’s game.
“Just as the same as tonight, we got to keep up that energy because every game is as important as the last,” said Ditzler. “We’re just going to go out there and play as hard as we can. Either way, we’ll be happy with what happens.”
As for Scio, who will be playing the game before the Blanchet-Crusader showdown, they know they need to do to advance to the State Tournament. But to get to that point, they need to forget everything and just play.
“Honestly I think we play our best when we don’t think about what we’re doing, we just do what’s habit,” said Smith. “But we learn obviously at practice and everything. If we just play, be happy and have fun and just love this sport, we’ll dominate.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald