By Jeremy McDonald
OREGON CITY, Ore.– South Salem found themselves down 17-13 in the second set to Oregon City in the match-up between the two Top 5 teams. The Saxons had struggled to find their groove against the Pioneers, but slowly pieced it together as they stormed back for a brief 21-20 lead. A win would force a decisive third-set in the Gold Bracket Championship Game.
The two squads battled, but the host-Oregon City squad held on to advance to the Championship bout versus Dallas and South Salem finished the day 1-1.
“Honestly I’m so proud of my teammates. I’m so proud of how we responded. We all worked super, super hard. Honestly we’re working hard in practice and games, we got a lot to go and we’re going to get there, but I’m proud with how we battled and I know we’re going to improve by the end of the year,” the Saxons Kayleigh Carpenter said. “We just need to work better together as a team and we’ll do really well this season
The Dragons battled through some adversity that started in their first bracket game when Maddy Straus went out with a sprained ankle against Mid-Willamette Conference foe Silverton. But Dallas would edge the Foxes and Tualatin to reach the Gold Bracket Championship Game with three girls on their bench and Emma Moore moving to Middle Blocker in place of Straus. Once leading the Pioneers 15-13 in the second set with the set coming down to the last few points as the Saxons-OC game was tied at 20.
“I think we did very well. It’s tough playing 6A teams as a 5A team and I think we really pulled through together and worked together,” Dallas’ Hannah Calloway said. “Just being able to do that is a good accomplishment. By not missing our serves and giving them points we could possibly win. If we didn’t make any mistakes we’ll be fine.“
But the Pios would score five of the final six points to take the championship title from Dallas in the 25-18, 25-21 sweep in favor of Oregon City.
Silverton fell to the Dragons in two sets with Dallas winning 26-24, 25-23. Central went 1-1 in the Silver Bracket, winning their first-round game before falling to The Dalles 19-25, 21-25.
The Dragons are in Lebanon Tuesday. South Salem hosts West Salem Tuesday. The Foxes are at North Salem Tuesday and the Panthers are hosting West Albany Tuesday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald