By Jeremy McDonald
LEBANON, Ore.– Fatigue was setting in during Western Christian’s final set of the day against Colton at the Eagles Volleyball Classic at East Linn Christian Academy.
The Pioneers, who went on to sweep the Vikings 25-11, 25-16, found themselves having to face the adversity of the moment of fatigue and a scrappy Colton team looking for some momentum entering back in league play in a few days in a 12-12 game.
It was a far-cry from how they started the best-of-three match in which they jumped out 19-5 on the Vikings. But as they began to pull-away, scoring the next six points to take a 18-12 lead in the second set, a change in their mental approach helped them separate from their Tri-River Conference opposition
“I think our attitude towards one another, we came more of a family right and I think right then and there we kind of turned on and ‘this is how we’re going to play. We mentally decided that we’re going to win this game and we achieved it,” Western Christian’s Madi Nicoli said. “We all worked really hard together to get the last kill and last serve.”
The Pios went 2-1 in pool play to secure the top seed from Pool 2 for the Championship Bracket. They pushed the fourth-ranked team in 1A in North Douglas, falling to the Warriors 22-25, 22-25. North Douglas suffered their first loss to Monroe in the Championship Game after filling in for Regis.
Facing a quality team like the Warriors and going through the mental challenge are helpful as Western Christian turns their focus to Salem Academy Monday following their third-place finish out of eight teams.
“It was a really tight game, they’re a great team. But we had some great attacks and great serves in that game,” Nicoli said of North Douglas. “We just need to work together and I think this is a really good tournament to work out the kinks before our big game against (Salem) Academy.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald