By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– For a four-week span, everything felt as normal as it can be while North Marion’s Megan Netter.
Her teammates Jaydan Sahlin and Mackenzie Agnew and Canby’s Kaiya Steyskal were at The Hoop in Salem playing in the NPJ’s Quads League back in September. It was fun just getting back on the court with some friends Netter had pointed out.
“It was a lot of fun. Getting to get back out on the court with my teammates. I love being able to play with them again and we connected pretty quickly even though we haven’t played together since the previous season,” Netter said.
“I always thought having a week off would be nice but having months off has really made me miss playing a lot. It has helped my body recover from injuries. I used to play every day and on weekends no stop with few breaks for the whole year. I’ve been ready to get back in the gym and start putting in work again. I’ve been lucky enough to play a little with my club team here and there but I’m ready to get back to my everyday practice and game schedule.”
Netter started playing Volleyball in the seventh-grade and has been playing basketball since the third grade. Walking into North Marion her freshman year, the Huskies basketball team had already established themselves in the 4A world with the Volleyball team coming into form her sophomore year when they reached the 4A Elite 8.
There was no pressure of the situation. Regardless of its basketball to get to Forest Grove or Volleyball on an historic ride, just pressure on self mainly Netter said. Playing with the ‘North Marion’ name has that meaning to put on for the community.
“To play for North Marion means that no matter what happens your team and coaches have your back. It means play your hardest if not for you then your team and community. The support we get is amazing. Whenever we make it to the playoffs and state the gyms are packed and it’s such a great feeling to know your community is there supporting you,” said Netter. “Their support means so much to us and I hope they continue to come to games and support us whenever they can
“Once I was on the court it didn’t matter if it was basketball or volleyball, I just focused on what I had to do. I want to win so I played the best I could. I never want to disappoint anyone or feel like I lost the game for the team so I try my hardest every time I step on the court”
Going into her sophomore year Netter had overworked her shoulder during club season, causing some issues to the musculature around the joint, but the now-Junior didn’t miss anytime playing. Netter just had to adjust to how she prepared for games.
“(It)wasn’t too bad. It hasn’t stopped me from playing or giving it my all. I have to stretch it and warm up really well before playing,” Netter said. “I also taped it for a while. But it has gotten a lot better and hasn’t bothered me in a while.”
The North Marion Volleyball team went 18-8 and 8-2 in the Tri-Valley Conference in 2019 on their way to the Elite 8 where they played Junction City and Banks. Sharing the journey with her dad Tim.
“My dad has coached me since I started playing sports. He has helped me grow as an athlete through the years and encouraged me to try new things in sports like club volleyball and travel ball,” said Netter. “I loved being able to have (him) as a coach again. He’s always been a big part of my success in sports and I am so thankful that I got to experience going to state with him as one of my coaches.
“Getting to the Elite 8 was definitely a learning experience. I was thrilled and super proud of my team for how far we got. Being able to experience getting there with that group of girls and coaches was amazing. Not being able to bring home a trophy was disappointed but personally that makes me want to get back and bring home a trophy even more and I think the other girls would agree.”
Netter mentioned too that former Huskie Head Girls Basketball Coach Trevor Bodine had picked up the sport of Volleyball quickly in his lone year as Head Coach, continuing his trend from basketball by challenging the girls like her to be the best that they can be. Bodine, Netter and the North Marion Girls Basketball team wheeled off 17 straight wins to get back to Forest Grove this past Spring.
The only thing that would stop the Huskies would be the Coronavirus Pandemic that had canceled the 4A State Playoffs, halting the run at 17 wins-in-a-row in the process.
As former Volleyball assistant coach Lindy Wing takes over the Volleyball program and MaKesha Bizon takes over the Basketball program entering 2021, Netter admits that there’s a sense of proving themselves in both volleyball and basketball as they embark on this journey ahead once hopefully the season starts in February.
“We try to prove we belong every day in volleyball after getting to the Elite 8 we finally started to get more respect from other people and teams. It felt good to be respected and seen as a challenge to play against,” Netter starts. “For basketball we have to prove we belong but it’s not as difficult since the teams have been doing really well for years. We just have to prove that even after losing seniors that we are still the same team and still play at a high level of competition and that we belong.
“Going to state (in basketball) has been a lot of fun. We have all worked so hard that it was very rewarding to be able to go to state and compete. Not having the biggest team doesn’t usually affect us. We were used to having a smaller bench that season and it just meant the ones playing had to step up a play their best and meant that we all needed to be conditioned so we could play more minutes without being tired.”
For Netter personally, to help the Huskies return to the final week or what comes of the final week the OSAA determines for each Volleyball in April and Basketball in June, it starts with her mental and physical game.
“I need to continue the work on my skills and get stronger mentally and physically. Working mentally and physically will be the same as every season for me. It would be a big step in my game if I can improve both to be better. I’m excited to improve both when we get back on the court,” Netter said.
Volleyball for Netter and the Huskies are slated to start February 22 with basketball starting May 10.