By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The Chemeketa Community College Volleyball team carried over the momentum from their first meeting with Linn-Benton back on September 10. Picking up where they left off from their four-set defeat to the Roadrunners, handing the defending NWAC Champions then just their second set defeat and one of ten overall in 24 games that Linn-Benton have played this season.
And despite not stealing yet another set from the Champions, the Storm kept the match close in the Roadrunners 25-20, 25-21, 25-15 win.Saturday afternoon at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. Forcing Linn-Benton to play from 6-4 down in the first set and 7-3 down in the second set, all the while pressuring the Roadrunners to make the right plays at the right times.
“They’re good. Linn-Benton is a very tough team and for us to be up with them, 20-25, 21-25, it was a hard-fought set but we’re finally getting there and the season is coming to an end but honestly we’re going to keep going. Carly (Lederer) is stepping in as a Middle so far and she’s killing it and if we continue to play loose and relax, we’re going to see more success in the future with the next few times that we’re playing,” McKay-Grad and Chemeketa sophomore Sarah Cortes said.
Lederer, a Stayton-grad and also a sophomore for the Storm, stepped back into the Middle Blocker role Saturday following the injury to South Salem-grad and Chemeketa freshman Brooklyn Worst. Filling in the void left behind.
“It was definitely a weird feeling, but I’ll do anything for my team to win games,” Lederer said. “We were definitely ready (today) and that’s why we started off strong. Towards the end, we wavered a little bit, but the last points we pushed.”
Linn-Benton, who survived two big scares in the opening two sets to build their two sets to none lead, came out fired up in the third set. Building a 7-1 lead and led 21-9 late in the third set to keep momentum firmly in their favor as they head to Mount Hood on Wednesday before heading home in Albany to play Umpqua.
“It felt good winning it in three and being able to take care of it. But the first two sets were a little choppy, our serve-receive was a little iffy at the beginning, but once we started going and started to clean up and found our groove we started doing better,” Central-grad and LBCC sophomore Kennedy Kantola said. “Just keep pushing and keep working hard in practice everyday. Just keep getting better and just staying together as a team honestly, keeping us healthy and keep on going.”
For Chemeketa, who drops to fourth in the NWAC South Region, Friday’s game with Rogue will be big to keep their playoff hopes alive. Top four out of the conference make it and the Osprey’s, who have four conference losses to the Storms’ five, have the upperhand on third with Mount Hood and Clark tied with Chemeketa with five conference defeats at the moment. Setting up an interesting finish for the Storm coming down the stretch.
“It’ll be awesome. I hope we make it to the playoffs and make it to the NWAC Championships, our team has so much potential and we’re such a good group of girls that we can honestly do it,” said Cortes.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald