By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Emotions were high following Sprague’s 27-25, 25-22, 13-25, 25-18 win over West Salem Wednesday night, snapping a two-game losing skid.
It was their best game of the year Lily Albrecht pointed, and on top of it being Senior Day for both her and Alexa Cantu, the Senior Ceremony was just the icing on the cake.
“This was a monumental game. This was the game where we all came together, actually,” Albrecht starts. “The communication, we all had energy and we just executed today and it was really good to see that we could actually do it. Prove to ourselves in this game that ‘yeah. We can do this’.
“When we took it to four-games, we were ‘this is the last set. We’re going to finish this’ and that’s just what we did.”
For Cantu, she pointed to the strong bond they’ve built throughout the season to this point. With the limitations with restrictions due to the pandemic they had to pick-up and go as soon as Marion County dropped from Extreme to ‘High’-risk like many teams in the county.
The first two sets went back and forth, the Olympians withstanding the fastballs and the rallies from the Titans Emmi Marks, Bella Snyder and Lauryn Johnson in the early going to put West Salem on the ropes.
“I thought we did really, really well in our first and second set. We’ve been talking about energy and playing with passion, going out there like it’s our last game we’ll ever get to play. Playing like we got nothing to lose and we really did that,” Cantu said. “Third set it did get a little rough, but we brought it right back is what matters and end up on top. But it was really fun and I’m proud of us for getting it back.”
The Titans survived the sweep attempt, controlling the third set early on. With a solid group of Juniors this season, mixing in with the youth Sprague has on their side, this is going to be one of those rivalry games to look forward to in the Fall.
“That third set just really helped build our team up. All of our sets, they’re close. McNary (on Tuesday) we only took a set from them and it’s a building experience for us and we know that we got this if we play our absolute hardest,” West Salem’s Bella Snyder said. “Losses like this are obviously devastating, but we know that further on into the future we can play up to the level that we’re challenged at.”
Both squads were gridlock at nine to start the fourth set before Sprague went on a 9-1 run capped by an Abby Sorenson kill to put the Olys ahead 18-10 temporarily. West Salem answered and got the game to within four, 21-17 with Snyder getting a kill and block to draw Sprague back in.
But the Titans couldn’t complete the fourth set comeback to force a fifth-set. The Olympians edged their West Salem counterparts to send their Seniors off with a win, capping a fantastic four-year home run for Albrecht and Cantu with three away games ahead to wrap up the six-week season starting with Corvallis Thursday.
“It’s definitely a building year in getting our footing down now and I’m so excited to see where these girls go next in the Fall,” Albrecht said. “I mean I’m sad that I won’t be here, but I can’t wait to see how they’ll succeed and stuff.”
The Titans have South Salem and Dallas at home Thursday and Monday before traveling to West Albany to close out the season.
“I think it’s been really good; we’ve been really close in matches and all of these games. 22-25, 23-25 so I think it just builds on for next year for what we’re getting into being a Junior-heavy squad so for our Senior year we’ll be able to come through and close it out,” Snyder said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald