By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.– West Salem brought the power, Dallas brought the scrap and fight. Mix the two together Wednesday night and we had an interesting five-set, 25-10, 22-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-2 match that went in favor of the Titans on the road.
The first set showed the potential that the Titans, who are Junior heavy this season, have entered this Spring short-season and the Fall season in a few months with what they’re able to do if they play cleanly. The one-two punch of Bella Snyder and Emmi Marks had set the tone early in the match against the Dragons from the outside.
From the setters setting the play up, to the duo finishing on the West Salem left-side of the net, had sparked the hot start to the match on this evening.
“Our setters were just connecting with me and Bella like every single time, it was like having fun,” said Marks of her and Snyder’s success.
The Dragons, looking for their second win of the season following their four-set victory over Crescent Valley Monday, answered back however in the second set. Ruby Earhart, Olivia Hale and company adjusted from their shell-shocked state exiting out of the first set against West Salem to charge ahead with two set wins.
Running down balls, preparing for the fastballs coming their way and sending them back over. Challenging the Titans to adjust to their scrappy-play as much as Dallas was to West Salem’s strength.
“We went into it knowing that Bella was going to swing hard and I feel like it was just adjusting to her swings and her arm angles. I feel like in that second game we really figured her out, We were able to execute,” Hale said. “We had a lot of momentum and energy, I felt like that really helped. We were cheering each other on, were positive and were able to keep the ball away.”
West Salem rallied from 8-3 down in the third set to take a 14-10 lead, but it wasn’t until the fourth set where they were able to gain that momentum and sustained it to the end. Going on a 10-3 advantage to force a decisive fifth set where they really took off.
“It really helped us improve and come together,” Marks said of the middle sets of the match. “We didn’t do too well yesterday, but today we came back and got the groove back. It was good. The connections with the setters, being on our toes. Just keep that momentum and we’ll have that confidence in ourselves.”
Snyder and Marks emerged again on the left-side of the net, the Dragons right, holding Dallas to two fifth-set points to seal the game. Marks got the game-finishing kill with the Titans having a few days to recover and work on their game before hosting West Albany Monday.
As for Dallas, they have the Bulldogs Thursday night. Catching West Albany in their third-game out of the gate and their third of this week alone with the Bulldogs finally being able to play with Benton County going down to ‘High Risk’ recently.
But with the momentum they had Wednesday, it gives them confidence knowing they’re able to compete against teams like West Salem entering the match-up to close out the week.
“We can definitely compete with (West), especially in that second and third set. I feel like if we can compete like that against a 6A team, we should do well tomorrow against West Albany,” Hale said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald