By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– When playoffs begin, anything is possible.
It was hard to fathom in Sprague’s 25-16, 25-13, 25-16 win Tuesday night against Glencoe that it wasn’t anything but smooth for the 2018 State Runner-Up looking for another deep playoff run this season.
But as the Crimson Tide held a 7-5 lead and were tied with the sixth-seed Olympians in the second set at eight, Sprague’s found themselves tested out of the gate as Glencoe took advantage of the Olys slow starts.
Head Coach Anne Olsen reminded her team during a point early in the second set to ‘focus’ as they shake off the nerves of their playoff opener.
“It’s very crucial, as we get further into the tournament, it’ll be more crucial,” said Bridgette Smith. “We get a little ahead of ourselves…but we’re working through that too.
“Our struggle is starting off but we’re working through it.”
Smith had 12 kills and nine digs in the win. Lily Albrecht added another eight with two blocks and Reese Sherwood had 37 assists for Sprague Tuesday night. Hannah Blubaugh had a team-high three blocks.
The Olys would ultimately pull away in each set to ensure the sweep against Glencoe as they play host to Canby to play their way into the Elite 8 at Liberty next weekend. The Cougars swept Grant in straight sets 25-18, 25-13, 25-10 with the 11th-seed squad makes the trip down to Salem Saturday.
And with the nerves of that first playoff game out of the way and seeing what the Crimson Tide did in those two opening sets, it showed Sprague what they can improve upon as they look to advance to their third-straight Final Site appearance.
“We need to focus more in practice but still enjoying it. Enjoying each other and remembering that we’re that team and we need to buy into it,” said Smith.
Central Catholic over McNary 25-11, 25-17, 25-17
Oregon City over West Salem 25-16, 25-19, 17-25, 20-25, 15-13
Bend over Beaverton 25-23, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21
Summit over Lincoln 25-6, 25-11, 25-9