By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– This week is more of a tune-up entering the long-haul that is the Volleyball season that officially kicks off Monday across the State.
Coming off their second-place finish in 2018 in 6A, Sprague wrapped up their second day of their Kids Camp with the Middle Schoolers handing off to the Elementary School kids that are filtering into the gym for their session.
It’s fun and laid back as Bridgette Smith and Madi Chulantseff came walking in minutes for the Elementary school session started sporting the space buns as the final session of the day was about to begin.
“It’s super fun, I mean it’s kind of the Sprague culture thing…we’re laid back and having fun. It’s awesome,” said Smith of the headwear.
“It’s so enjoyable to see them relishing in being together as teammates and as friends and be able to be in the atmosphere all together,” said Olys Head Coach Anne Olsen. “Just having fun and being able to see all the little girls running around and looking up to them.”
This whole week, with their team camp in the morning before the Middle Schoolers come in at 1pm and then the elementary school athletes come in at 3:30 is just that: A fun week. A laid back week.
With try-outs next week, it’s a good relaxing time to just loose out and have fun before the stressors ahead. Even their team camp is laid back compare to what is ahead.
“Running the High School camp is really nice because we’re able to break skills down where we don’t get to do that in try-outs,” said Olsen. “It’s nice, especially for the girls to go through a week of camp and be able to refresh their skills after a summer of maybe not playing volleyball before they come into try-outs.”
It’s a way of relieving the stress of try-outs before they hit the courts to try to make the squad and fill the holes left by a Morgan Doll, a Emily West with someone like a Reese Sherwood or a Chulantseff who transferred over from West Salem to see how they duplicate their deep run that they had last season again in 2019.
Some teams have a mantra like ‘be the hunter, not the hunted’ or like Sprague, going in expecting to be the Underdog. For the Olys that mantra, long with the team work and comradery last year helped them win the Mountain Valley Conference, stun Central Catholic in the State Quarterfinals and came awfully close to give Jesuit their first set loss to an Oregon team in the State Championship two games later in the Title Game.
Entering 2019, Sprague is once again going to be looking towards that mantra with everyone coming in for try-outs and beyond this season.
“I think we just got to remember that we’ve always been that underdog of the teams,” said Smith. “So I think we can use that again because I think we’re going to surprise teams again with Madi coming in this year, yeah just keep thinking that we’re the underdog.”