By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The one thing about an Anne Olsen-led Sprague Volleyball team is that they’re scrappy. They know how to battle and stay with it.
On more than one occasion the Olympians had to rise to the challenge in their 25-18, 25-15, 25- sweeping win over the Saxons, more so in the second set where they had a 14-point swing. Quickly swinging momentum after South Salem’s run previously to eventually take the set in the rivalry match Thursday night. Throwing South Salem through a loop in the physically and mentally challenging contest.
“We just slowed it down in our minds and that picked up our energy. Once we started going on a roll, that kind of shut them down and then we were able to stay positive,” Sprague’s Sarah Jones said. “We just focused on staying calm and keeping our energy up because we’ve struggled with that in the past. Going into this game we focused on staying high and I think that’s why we ended up winning tonight. There’s a lot of energy in every game and I think that’ll help prepare us for the playoffs and later on in the season.”
It was loud. Most of the time it is when the Salem-Keizer schools meet up. Passion and fire for their schools and some friendly banter amongst schools as Sprague pulled out the victory the next set to improve to 3-1 in Central Valley play and South fell to 2-2.
But it was a good test though, as the Central Valley Conference league play has kicked off and the two rivals enter tournaments on Saturday. Sprague with their own tournament, Saxons head to Grant for the Grant Tournament with the hopes to clean up the little things going into that tournament and move forward with the season as their young team continues to grow and develop as the season goes on.
With Matt Leichty as coach, similar to Olsen, his team will take the defeat to heart going into the remainder of the season.
“We got a lot of young players in positions that are important and they’re getting better everyday, it challenges us and forces us to get better. We have to find ways we need to improve,” Leichty said. “We did some good stuff tonight, but we know it was good enough either. We’ll be stepping back into the gym tomorrow and trying to get ready for the next time we see them. We have a big tournament this weekend, so it’ll be another good opportunity for us to work on some stuff and see what we can do.”
The Saxons head to play West Salem on Tuesday after the Grant Tournament, Sprague heads to West Salem as well on Thursday after hosting the Sprague Tournament on Saturday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald