By Jeremy McDonald
AMITY, Ore.– Six games into the 2019 season and the Amity Volleyball team has already matched their win-total from 2018.
Their scrappiness, grit and mental focus has helped the Warriors slip by league opponent Scio at the Gaston tournament. The three helped them slip by Willamina in five sets Tuesday and it helped Amity again Thursday in their 25-11, 25-17, 25-15 sweep of Warrenton to enter the third week of the season 6-0 on the season.
The motivation is there: Playoffs. Something they haven’t done since 2013. It’s been since 2014 since the Warriors had more than six wins in a single season, having matched that in 2016 and 2018 with six wins in a single season.
“The motivation of us pushing and thinking we’re going to playoffs is really helping us. If we just work hard, work together and just keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to do great,” said Maddie Vrell.
Vrell had four kills and two digs in the sweep Thursday night.
Coming off of their win over the Bulldogs Tuesday, certainly an early season test ahead for the PacWest Conference schedule with Yamhill-Carlton, Salem Academy and Scio with the mental toughness to bounce back, Thursday’s game could easily be looked at as a ‘trap’-game entering Taft Wednesday evening.
And that starts in practice leading into their games.
“Coach has us do a workout every, single practice, we hate it…but we push ourselves because it’s what keeps us winning out here,” said Brooke Lopez, who had five kills, seven assist and nine digs in Thursday’s game. “It’s the little things like that. It’s our mindset, that’s the biggest thing, we’re being smart rather than trying to be hard and try to kill everything.”
Amity took the opening set in firey passion before having to rely on their mental toughness in the second and third sets to string together runs to swing momentum early in the sets from Warrenton back their way to take the next two sets to close out the week.
They’re not the tallest team on the court, but their team work, their hustle and quickness has helped raise some havoc here in the opening two weeks of the season with the optimism to do more moving ahead into the rest of the season.
“We’ve been working so well together. The dynamic we have is amazing,” said Lopez. “We’re doing so great, we’re focused, everything. We’ve grown so much from last year.”
Skylar Sexton had a team-high 21 digs to go with three aces. Haley Vanderzanden had four kills to go with her three solo blocks and Lily Trejo had 12 assists in the win as the Warriors look to continue this hot start against the Tigers on Wednesday at 6:30pm
Photos By Jeremy McDonald