Returning To The Court

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.–  It’s strange to think about, picking up a new sport and succeeding at it as quickly as Salem Academy’s Dylainee Carmony did when she entered High School and tried out for the Crusaders Soccer team.  Making the squad as the Varsity goalkeeper.

“Soccer ended up coming pretty easily after the first couple weeks. I played when I was really little, so most of my soccer skill has come from the last two years,” Carmony said of learning soccer.

Does she consider herself a natural athlete?  Yes and no Carmony pointed, some things do come easy yes.  Other aspects do need some work while adjusting and learning to the demands of the sport she is playing.

Carmony and Salem Academy, who partnered with Crosshill Christian Carmony’s freshman year and Western Christian last year, went 11-18 on the pitch in two years.  As a sophomore Carmony got second-team All-Conference Goalie as the Crusaders had their best season in program history by going 7-8 overall and 6-6 in league play.

The program dates back to 2014-2015.

But Carmony admits that she missed the volleyball court, and wanted to return to it.  Rejoining a program that has gone to the 3A State Final site five of the past seven years and each of the past three seasons.

Carmony going up for a save for Salem Academy’s Girls Soccer team where she was a goalkeeper for two years for the Crusaders (Photo Provided By Kerri Carmony)

Carmony, who also plays basketball at Salem Academy, had played six years of Volleyball prior.  Third through fifth-grade outside of school, then during her three years of middle school.  The Crusader Junior has been in the Salem Academy-system as a student since the third-grade.

The decision to come back was hard, but as open gyms started up during the Fall, she knew it all would all comeback with the physical and mental aspect of the game.

“I ended up going back because I just missed it, I never had a dislike of the sport,” Carmony said.  “But going into high school I think I wanted to be with my friends that I was closest to at the time and try something new, I didn’t take into consideration how much I would end up missing volleyball.

“The skill that volleyball takes will come back more and more with time and practice, the hardest thing to earn back will be the mentality on the court. to me, that’s one of the biggest differences between the two, especially coming from the goalie position.”

Once she gets a better grip on the mental aspect of the game, a lot more will come back to her, Carmony said.  Open gyms happened three times a week during the start of Season 1.  There was a huge difference between the first time on the court last time in Mid-November in terms of skill and understanding.

Carmony (3) helped the Crusader program to a 11-18 record as a goalkeeper and was part of the basketball program that went to the first round of the 3A playoffs as she joins a Volleyball program that went to the final site five of the last seven years (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“It was definitely a change. I was not looking good at all but I hadn’t played for over two years so i knew I just had to stick with it,” Carmony starts.  “The last practice was a lot easier and honestly a lot more fun. I was a lot more comfortable and ready to play.

“I can still improve all around but again that mentality will be crucial for me when we get to our actual season this year.”

With the freeze and subsequent slow return of outdoor conditioning after the New Year across the State, it has helped Carmony realize how important sports is for her and with the unknown future of indoor sports due to the virus, Carmony won’t rule out a possible return to the pitch if she cannot do Volleyball.

“This down time has really made me realize how crucial athletics can be in a high schoolers time. they not only help with staying in shape but also have a major social aspect that gets us out of our shells,” Carmony starts.  “I stopped playing soccer because I just didn’t have fun anymore, but one sport is better than none, so if we can’t find a way to play any sort of volleyball even in a different way, I’ll most likely play soccer just to start doing something again but i still need to think about if that would be best for me.”

Volleyball and Soccer are both in the OSAA Season 2 six-week season between February with practice and games starting in March.


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