By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Cristina Williams had a way to get her teams to play to their fullest potential at Cascade High School over the past nine years going into her tenth season as Cougars Head Coach this season.
Several Conference Players of the Year. Four straight Oregon West Conference titles from 2013-2016. A second-place finish in 2013.
But entering the 2019 season, Williams knows that this season will be a difficult one for her as Head Coach with have three upperclassmen to a large sophomore class coming into the Summer League season leading into Fall Practice.
Williams though, with the youth they have, is impressed with how far they’re coming along so far this summer season that started July 9.
“They’ve improved so much since the first summer league game. They are gelling well together and clicking well and the chemistry is getting there,” said Williams. “We are really green. We’re learning the game each touch they have, they had a lot of touches this week.”
The Cougars, working around the summer league action at McKay High School this year, held team camp during the week that helped Cascade get those quality reps that gave
“The more touches and the more experience they get, the better they’ll get,” said Williams. “I got a really good group of girls, good attitudes, hard workers. So, it’ll be good and it’ll be fun to work with them and teach them how to play.”
With try-outs next month, the Cougars came out swinging against Kennedy Thursday evening in their summer scrimmage by jumping out to a match-point on the Trojans who saw Sophia Carley in street clothes on the bench.
Incoming sophomore Kenna Coleman and incoming senior Brenna Moore were making their sets. Emma Gates, who won the 4A High Jump State Title in the Spring and started volleyball a little over a year ago with club, brings some extra hops by the net at Middle. Natalee Federico and Hadleigh Knieling, two other sophomores, were stepping up as well in the match.
Then, the Two Towers in the Worst Sisters: Madelyn and Brookelyn Worst. Both stand over six-feet tall. Madelyn, a senior, stands at six-foot while younger sister Brookelyn, a sophomore, stands close to six-three.
“Having two girls who are taller than six-foot is a huge, huge thing for us. As long as we can work on all the little things, learn the game and be a defensive team and get the ball to them, I think they’ll be a huge asset for us,” said Williams.
Kennedy slowly crept back into the set, taking advantage of those youthful mistakes to take the first set 26-24 over the Cougars. The Trojans held a 11-5 lead when the match time limit expired.
Madelyn Worst, one of the two seniors with Moore, who comes off quiet and is a hard worker for the Cougars since coming up to Varsity as a sophomore will be looked to as a leader entering her Senior season. Worst was supporting her teammates during the Kennedy match and breaking out of her quiet self to step up as a leader of the team.
“I’m really proud of Maddie so far. She’s really stepped up into that role, she’s been on my team since her sophomore year,” said Williams of Madelyn. “Being that Senior and knowing that is her role is to lead. She leads the girls well and leads them well, they respect her and she’s doing a phenomenal job on the court. I really think she’s going to step up this year and be that leader that we need.”
In their Thursday Summer scrimmage finale, Dallas took set 1 25-13 over Cascade before the Cougars battled back to take a 23-22 advantage when the time limit was reached.