By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– South Salem enters the Fall season with a massive target on their backs.
In the Spring 2021 season the Saxons went 12-0, dropping just three sets during the six-week season. Those three sets were to Silverton (one set) and West Albany (two sets).
Thursday evening rolled around and they were part of the annual Salem-Keizer School District Volleyball jamboree at West Salem High School. Edging out a set victory over a scrappy McNary team that went 11-2 in the Spring and only graduated three from that strong squad entering this Fall.
“If there’s anything we learned from last year it was we’re going to have the same team so just keep what we’re doing and keeping the energy up since we have a pretty solid start already,” said South Salem’s Brooskie Isham. “We can keep working steady every day. We can definitely figure out some stuff and I think we got it; we can figure some things out for our next game.”
The Saxons will be back up to the Emerald City, the school on the hill, on Thursday as they kick off the regular season against the Titans.
Similarly to South Salem, West Salem closed out the jamboree by pulling away from Sprague after a highly contested, back-and-forth battle early on in the set against the junior-heavy Olympian squad. Sprague’s looking to rebound from a rare down-year in which they went 7-7. Their first near-.500 season since they went 11-15 in 2015.
The Titans will be senior-heavy with 11 seniors to their name, but have three underclassmen to their roster this season with Jenna Woodcock, Ashelyn Stanley and Lauryn Johnson.
Johnson had some nice kills against the Olys as the sophomore will look to help alleviate some pressure off her senior-counterparts this Fall following West Salem’s 6-6 Spring season.
“It feels good to help my seniors to have a really good senior season, so anything is a good thing,” Johnson starts. “(Last year) really helped a lot because we didn’t have a lot of seniors, so it was primarily our team (coming back). So going into this season, it’s going to be really easy to see what we had to prepare us for games like this.”
Sprague and the Celtics open the season Thursday. McKay, who have seven upperclassmen (five seniors and two juniors) to five sophomores on their Varsity roster this season, plays host to Summit on Thursday. North Salem kicks off the season Thursday as well with a 6:30 first serve against Lebanon to open up Mid-Willamette Conference play.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald