Filling In Where They Need Her

By Jeremy McDonald

ALBANY, Ore.–  Leaders find a way to help their team out in more ways than not.

When Monday’s game with Crescent Valley came around, North Salem’s Mackenzie Durrant was asked to play outside of her normal position of Libero in the Vikings tough 16-25, 14-25, 11-25 loss to the Raiders on the road.

The last second adjustment for Durrant was a curve ball in a tough season for the young North Salem team, but Durrant showed off her versatility on the court as she had before when she filled in at setter before as well.

For the Senior, one of three on the Viking roster this season, it’s a matter of supporting her teammates vocally to build them up instead of tearing them down during the course of a game with her positive attitude.

“It’s definitely different playing outside than it is playing libero because I can see more in the back there and it’s easier to tell people ‘you got this, you got that’.  But I try to put myself in their shoes and say ‘I believe in you.  You can do this, I have total confidence in you’,” said Durrant, who stands a shade over five-foot.

“Just seeing them having somebody that believes in them because that’s all it takes.  I feel them getting down on themselves where ever they mess up and I know what their capable of, so I try to be as positive as I can e and be someone they can look to when they’re not filling their best while playing.”

North Salem grouping up before the first serve of Monday’s game against Crescent Valley (Picture by Jeremy McDonald)

Durrant succeeded in her new role opposite of sophomore Isabella Synder in trying to have some assistance on the perimeter with Junior Kecia Flanders getting the reps at Libero during Monday’s game.

Despite their youth this season, the Vikings have showed that scrappy fight as they did in the Salem-Keizer jamboree when they took Sprague, West Salem and South Salem to extra’s in their start-of-the-week road trip.

In the first and second sets, faced with match-point, North Salem wheeled off runs of six and four respectively to try to build some momentum for the next set.  It worked going into the second set when they led Crescent Valley 6-3 early on before errors allowed the Raiders to comeback into the match and eventually taking it.

Shaya Powers had two nicely executed blocks in the third set as the Viks look to snap their ten-game skid against Lebanon (0-10, 0-7 Mid-Willamette Conference) Thursday at McKay High School.

“Just celebrating the small victories that happen and building off of those.  We have great skills on the team, we have great serves,” “Just try to get on runs and always coming together after every point.  Being positive and making sure we’re uplifting always so we can keep the momentum on our side.”

First serve is scheduled at 6:15pm Thursday.

Photos by Jeremy McDonald


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