By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was one of those experiences that Dallas’ Hailey Van Well wouldn’t forget as she went back to her school Volleyball team this summer for Summer League.
Playing as a member of the NPJ 16’s last season, she remembered them finishing dead last in the Junior National Tournament before the squad finished third at the tournament earlier this month in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“It was really awesome because the year before, with the 16s team we went and we got dead last and so coming into it we were expecting a whole lot more and I thought we did really good. It was super fun to be a part of that team, it was super fun,” said Van Well of the experience.
Van Well mentioned too that with some of her Dragon teammates having played club leading into the Summer League season, seeing the live scrimmages against competition that’s not against themselves will help entering the season here in a few weeks.
“A lot of us did play club so then coming into High School we were just hitting it and this helped a lot because we can actually play other schools and not just our own team. So playing these would help us a lot with more game like and it’ll get us ready for the games to come in August,” said Van Well.
With Summer League at McKay High School this season with the Scots taking over hosting duties from Blanchet Catholic, Dallas opened the Summer League-‘playoffs’ against another team looking for another deep run in St. Paul at the 1A-level.
The first set was close, with the Lady Buckaroos taking the set advantage over the Dragons entering the second set. When Dallas took on the defending 1A State Champions earlier in the Summer League season, the Dragons defeated St. Paul with Dallas looking to duplicate their fifth-place success in 2019.
But with Fall practice coming around the corner, with the ‘official’ kick-off being August 19, the second set of the opening round of the ‘playoffs’ proved more beneficial rather than a sour note to a strong summer with something to look forward too to work on in practice.
“I think trust and communication. We’ve had a lot of balls that just kind of went without knowing and placement too. Knowing time and place, knowing when to put the ball away, who has the ball and take it and attack,” said Van Well.
Dallas’ will hop right into Mid-Willamette Conference play when the season kicks off for the squad September 5 when they travel to Lebanon. The MWC had three Top 5 teams that included the Dragons in league last season, the other two includes Corvallis (the defending 5A Champs) and West Albany.