By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– McNary emptied the tank against South Salem Saturday afternoon.
The 21st-ranked team in 6A could’ve feasibly, as the Saxons could’ve, took two sets to none lead in South Salem’s 25-23, 26-28, 25-19, 26-24 win in the 6A Round of 16.
“I thought we played really well today, but honestly I thought we could’ve played better. I think we should’ve brought in a little bit more fire,” the Celtics Taylor Detrant. “Going against a tougher team is really helpful to build skill at all levels. It was insane.”
The Celtics had jumped out to a 5-0 first set lead and had hung tough to take the second set 28-26. South Salem jumped out to a 14-5 third set lead to pace themselves in their six-point set win, the largest margin of victory in the match, before McNary came back swinging in the fourth-set.
It was an eye-opener considering what Mountain Valley Conference-rival Sprague is doing on the other side of the bracket that seeding is just a number with the Saxons facing Central Catholic in the 6A State Quarterfinals.
“It was a big eye-opener, McNary had nothing to lose and they for sure came out strong and that’s what we expected,” South Salem’s Brooksie Isham said. “It was a big eye-opener and since we’re moving on, we have to get ready for Central Catholic.
“We just need to stay scrappy and keep that mentality of letting nothing drop, don’t take no for an answer. Just play hard and play hard all game, don’t drop down to any level and just play as well as we can play.”
McNary graduates five from their 16-12 team, and that fourth set was a big momentum swing for those like Detrant who are returning next season.
“I thought it was really important for us to regroup everything we had and put it in that fourth set. We fell short a little bit, but we’ll come back next year even harder,” adds Detrant.
The Saxons will travel to Central Catholic Tuesday for a 6:30pm first serve. Winner advances to the 6A Final Site at Liberty High School on November 5.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald