By Jeremy McDonald
ALBANY, Ore.– Coming into this weekend’s Friday-Saturday slate, Saturday’s game with Rogue Community College of Grants Pass was the one they were most looking forward to.
Linn-Benton Community College took the top spot in the first Coaches Poll with the Osprey’s fourth. But they had to get through Friday’s match-up with Southwestern Oregon Community College. They did that handily, sweeping the Lakers 25-11, 25-20, 25-15.
“I think just taking care of our first game and our mindset of ‘take care of our first game since we got another one’ because the hype was this game (with Rogue),” said Central-grad Kennedy Kantola. “We didn’t downplay SWOCC and so we took care of them. We were super excited to come out today, we’ve had good chemistry, it’s awesome.”
With 11 freshmen, the Roadrunner-squad entered Saturday afternoon’s match-up looking for their tenth-straight win and 17th-overall. Kantola, South Umpqua-grad Shalyn Gray and Crescent Valley-grad Eva Burford each have at least 132 kills apiece as Linn-Benton squad took it one serve at a time against Rogue.
“We just focused on ‘let’s get this next point’ instead of ‘next game we got to do this’, we just had to focus on that set and that play,” Gray said.
Kantola led the offense with seven kills. Gray, Taya Manibusan and Alicia Vandervoort-Walters each had six kills. Jade Hayes led the defense with 11 digs in the 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 sweep of the Ospreys.
Each set brought an unique playoff-like atmosphere with Rogue and Lane sitting right behind the Roadrunners in the NWAC South Region standings as Linn-Benton sit 17-2 on the season. Clicking and hitting a groove with eight games left in the regular season.
“At the beginning of the season we were putting down balls, not knowing each other. But we just kind of formed well once we learned how each other play, our styles and our trust, it’s gotten so much better since the beginning of the season,” Kantola said.
“For every game we have to bring our A-Game no matter what, we don’t play down to other teams levels, we got to play at ours and execute the details,” Gray adds.
Linn-Benton travels to Clackamas on Wednesday and Clark on Friday before hosting Chemeketa on October 13 back at Linn-Benton Community College.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald