By Jeremy McDonald
BROOKS, Ore.– For the first time ever, the 1A Willamette Valley Christian Warriors hosted a Volleyball jamboree with six teams total coming to the Brooks school. A nice chance of pace as each team got a set against three different teams.
For Willamette Valley Christian though, adversity arose going into their final scrimmage set against Regis. With Sarah Benjamin going down after suffering an injury against Colton in their second match, Head Coach Elisa Hunter had to change up her line-up and moved Ella Peerenboom in to Middle Blocker to fill the void. It was a position that the senior that she’s never played before as she took on the challenge going into the final set.
“I never played Middle in my whole entire life, I’ve always been a libero. It was the energy of ‘oh we got this, no matter what. We’ll do our thing,” Peerenboom said. “I think we proved ourselves that we can do it if we put our minds to it, we can do it.”
This core that’s returning that features Peerenboom, Rylee Shackleton and Leah Sturgis that’s mixed in with three frosh, it took a while for them to heat back up after the quick lineup change going up a rebuilding, yet scrappy, Rams team. Down 18-11, the Warriors marched back in behind their seniors, eventually tying the match back up at 18 before Regis took a brief 19-18 lead in the set.
“We have a really solid group that have played together with the seniors. They played together, so they know each other well and they believe in each other with teamwork. Just having that experience and belief in each other, their attitude is great and they all help each other, it’s really good,” adds Hunter. “They fight well, but they also have that court sense and knowing where each other are out on the court”
Pressure isn’t anything new to the squad having to play 1A juggernaut in St. Paul as well as teams like Perrydale, Jewell and Crosshill Christian in the Casco League, and this is routine as they hung with Regis. Eventually pushing forward for the 25-21 set win.
Granted it’s a jamboree yes, but momentum like that can be useful going into the season. Coming off of a 14-9 season with a 10-4 Casco League record, Willamette Valley Christian are hopefully 2022 can go as well, if not better, than last Fall with their season opener against North Clackamas Christian on Tuesday.
“We’re just trying to play to the best of our potential with our mental toughness and work ethic and be ready to go get it. We’re facing good teams who love to play and we love to play, so we’re excited for any challenge that we face. We’re just up for it and give our best, trying to better ourselves and hopefully the score reflects that improvement and come out to play with everything we got,” Hunter said.
Casco League play starts September 1 against Crosshill Christian in Brooks.
Photo’s By Jeremy McDonald