By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.- McKay was scrappy, gritty even. Their service game had lend them a 15-3 lead over South Salem in their final jamboree game of the night.
That service game, plus their defense will be crucial as they lose the fire power from Shay Coons from last year and lack that traditional height that a Sprague, West Salem or the Saxons have entering this year.
But they’re making it work as they went to extra points against North Salem and made a nice little rally against the Titans in their second of four scrimmages Thursday night with their efficiency and aggressiveness in the service game with their strong defense.
“It’s the number one factor,” said Head Coach Scott Coons. “Those two things between solid defense and really great communication connections, that’s what going to keep us in games and what’s going to get us over the top in games.”
With outside hitter Sarah Cortez, a leader said Coons and is a six-rotation player, good server and great defender for the Junior heavy team this year that also features Tajanae Kelly and Joeclyn Duran. Sophomores in Middle hitter Aliyah Martinez and Opposite Hitter Anesia Ainam both are expected to step up this year with the girls in front of them with the Junior class. Coons has been very impressed with where the raw Scots are. And with just one Senior on their roster, they only can improve over the next season or two as South began to mount a comeback.
South Salem had taken a 18-16 lead on McKay with momentum in their favor, however the Scots battled to tie it and eventually took the set 25-23 to pick up their lone win of the jamboree with Duran sealing the win with one of their strengths:
Serving with a Service Ace.
“After the runs we had, we stayed on top when they came at us and we were tied for a while. We pushed through and came out winning,” said Duran. “It’s mostly our communication. During our third set match with McNary, we weren’t talking at all. But then we picked it up and I think that’s what helped us in the last set.”
McKay’s main thing to focus on between Thursday’s jamboree and September 5’s season and Mountain Valley Conference opener at Bend High School is their communication.
It was the thing that plagued them in their loss to McNary in the third set, the third scrimmage of the night, in that it’s going to come down to their communication to set up their defense and help succeed on the court.
“If we talk during the entire game and are louder than our opponent, I think we’ll be close or end up winning each match,” said Duran.