By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Salem Academy found a way to get it done against Culver in the Tri-River Conference Championship Game Saturday night at Salem Academy. Capping a regular season that went undefeated once more in Tri-River Conference play and won their second-straight TRC Championship going into the 2A Playoffs looking to repeat as State Champions.
The Crusaders quickly jumped on it in the first set of their 25-6, 25-18, 25-22 sweep of the Bulldogs to close out the TRC League Playoffs. Whatever the reason may have been for Culver’s slow start to the match, they responded well in the next two. Holding a 16-12 lead in the second set before Salem Academy finished strongly and were on the verge of taking a set in the third set up 18-10 before the Crusaders just flipped a switch and began to draw Culver back in.
Eventually drawing even with them at 19-19 and rode the momentum to the finish line. Something that was awesome to see with the squad being able to pull themselves together there at the end.
“It’s pretty awesome. We normally get behind and stay behind in the set and have to pick it up the next, but everyone just stayed together and worked together and pulled through,” Emma Brewer said.
“This isn’t our best either, we’re not peaking yet. No more dropped sets, we’re ready,” adds Aly Herber.
Brewer and Herber were named to the TRC All-League First team this season, the league honors being announced following Saturday’s Championship Game. Lexi Herber (Second Team), Haley Krieger (Third Team), Kacyn Hiley (Third Team), Sydney Reed (Honorable Mention) too were named to the league honors list this season
And there’s still work to be done. One goal was done and completed with winning the league, going undefeated in league again too after their 11-0 league season last year, but now it’s time for the next goal in bringing home another State Championship. And that begins Monday as they await to see who they’ll host on Saturday for the first round of the 2A Postseason.
“Looking ahead. Look at what’s coming, we got a State Title to win. Just playing for each other, playing as one, playing as a team. We’re one, so if we play together we’ll win,” Herber said.
A win on October 29 will send Salem Academy to the Final Site in Redmond for the double-elimination portion of the bracket.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald