By Jeremy McDonald
PERRYDALE, Ore.– It’s hard to imagine that Bailey Savage is the shorter sister at a shade over six-foot-two with her older sister, Dallas-grad and UCLA redshirt freshman Tristan Savage, is six-foot-seven.
There’s not too many of either Savage’s height walking around in 1A however as the younger Savage improved entering her Junior year after getting a taste of Varsity last season with the Pirates.
She points out a few situations against 1A State Champions St. Paul in which she was too late to the block and the little things that she had worked on during the offseason.
“I definitely improved upon coordination a little bit,” smiled Savage. “I’ve been working really hard on blocking mostly and hopefully will have a good season. Getting back, I had a tough time getting back last year, not transitioning fast enough to get up for the hit.
“I feel like me and Nathlie (Juarez) are working on fast hits and getting good at different hits so we could trick out the other teams. So, I think that’s going to be a big improvement for me and Nathlie this year.”
Juarez is the teams returning setter from Perrydale’s fourth-place finish at State last year and is one of several seniors on the team along with the Lawrence twins of Sydney and Kenzy and Naomi Cruickshank.
With that returning Team Chemistry, it’s just a matter of taking the next step this season after last year’s success.
“Our working together is going to make more points than it did last year because we’ve worked on all different sets, so we’ll be bringing something new and I think it’ll work a lot,” said Juarez.
It’s also hard imagine how it could work with a team that went 28-7 overall and 11-3 in the Casco League how much more room they could improve, but here’s how and it’s two words:
The Buckaroos lost only four sets in 2018 and not one of them to Perrydale in their three match-ups last season. Two of the nine sets were within four points, each identical 25-21 defeats during the league season as three of the Pirates losses last year came by the 30-0 State Champs.
And though St. Paul lost six seniors, they had the Davidson sisters in Mary and Annabelle, come in from 2A Gervais that’ll help lessen the blow by the departed Seniors with the strong core coming back led by Isabelle Wyss.
For the first hour of Tuesday’s practice, the Perrydale conditioned, knowing that the Bucks aren’t going away. St. Paul was in the McKay Summer Volleyball League getting better themselves. So the next two weeks entering the season aren’t just going to be crucial for this season’s success, but to shrink the gap between them and St. Paul.
“This year we’re more of a positive team too, so I think if we keep it together we’ll be able to push through and win a set…They still have really good players there,” said Juarez.
“Our conditioning is going to help a lot and get ready for the passes,” adds Savage. “It’s going to help me a lot to get the blocks up. I’m working on jumping higher and getting there because a couple of times last year I was too late to the block, so I wasn’t able to get up and block. So this year, I’m really focusing on working on a big swing to get up there and block them.”
Unlike the past few years in which the Pirates travel to Western Christian for the jamboree, they’ll change it up this year as they will jump right into the Country Christian Tournament August 29 with a doubleheader with Echo and Joseph at 9am and 10:30am.