By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– There’s something special about Volleyball to Salem Academy’s Hannah Warde. It taught her hard work, sacrifice and endurance as she holds out hope that the six-week season currently schedule for her and her Crusader squad holds true for one last ride.
Having been a student at Salem Academy since the second-grade, Warde has floated between competing in swimming and Volleyball during her first two years in High School. Swimming in the 200IM, 100 backstroke and helped the Crusaders to a seventh-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay as a sophomore in 2019.
Meeting the demands of then-coach Maria Robertson as the Crusader Senior was also apart of the Salem Academy team that finished fourth in 3A that season with Head Coach Melissa Holman.
“It has definitely been hard playing for teams that are so physically demanding, but to me playing for those teams means to play for your teammates and God,” said Warde. “Both Volleyball and Swim are team-based sports, so playing for those teams has pushed me to be my best so that as a team we can go far.
“It was a blast, state in any sport is one of my favorite memories, it is just a great team bonding experience and allows for so much growth. I went to state as an alternate my freshman year (with swimming).”
Warde spent her Junior season focusing on Volleyball, turning her focus to manager with the swim team while playing with the Capital City Elite Volleyball Club. Warde is playing with the Silverton Bearcats and will be joining the club team once they are able to get back onto the court.
For Warde, who was an All-Tournament Team as a Junior for the Crusaders, the time away from the sport she loves has been hard; but it has made her appreciate the little things when she looks back on it. The State runs, popping the Martinelli Sparkling Cider following their last games of the year.
The attention to detail that Holman ask of them that has continue to make them an regular in the final three days of the season.
“It was a sign of teamwork, friendship and hard work, those moments were how we celebrated that hard work,” Warde says. “Holman loves all of us very much and she makes that known to us. through that she also pushed us so that we can do our best. She would always remind us that it’s the little things that helped us to get where we are.
“Little things like having endurance on top of skill. we would run a mile as a team every day before practice. It’s things like that that allowed us to get where we are now.”
The Crusaders have been 32-18 and 18-2 in PacWest Conference play the two-years Warde has been on the Varsity roster. Salem Academy finished third in 2019 on the heels of their fourth-place finish in 2018.
Over the Fall Warde joined Aubrey Smith, Annabelle Brawley and Bailey Pedersen in NPJ’s ‘Quad’-league. They were in the second session of the two-part coherts of the opening session. A nice little change of pace, breaking the runt of staying at home doing the on-going pandemic.
“It was a lot of fun to just get some reps in, but also to get to know specifically Bailey better,” said Warde. “It was just a great way to have some fun and bond in the midst of all this craziness.”
Pedersen, a Junior transfer from Cascade, played Volleyball and Basketball with the Cougars the last two years before coming to Salem Academy and is adjusting well with her new teammates said Warde as the quartet get a little peace of mind on the hardwood.
“Bailey is definitely fitting in very well. Just to play volleyball for a little bit of time has given me a lot of peace of mind which is very important to me right now,” Warde said.
The six-week season is supposed to kick off February 22 with the first game to follow shortly after. But beyond this year Warde will be heading to Abilene Christian University where she’ll be majoring in Nursing. Leaning towards the surgical side of the field as she heads to the Lone Star State of Texas next school year.
“I chose ACU because it had everything I wanted,” Warde starts. “Study abroad, club sports, a great nursing program and warm weather. It was not hard to pick a school that is far away from home. Both of my siblings go to college in Virginia, so I got to see them go far away from home first and how much they enjoyed it.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald