By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Emotions were high throughout the match, more so when the last point came in their 25-20, 25-17, 25-19 sweep of Mount Hood Community College. The sweep for Chemeketa Community College separated the two teams, who entered tied for fourth in the NWAC South Region, with one game left.
For reference, four teams out of the region make it to the postseason, so the victory puts the Storm in a very favorable position for the end of the season tournament. it would be their first since the 2018-19 season if they win on Friday.
And when the final kill hit the ground to seal the win, South Eugene’s Jenna Giezel fell to the ground, borderline in tears knowing how big this win was to their season.
“To the point where I could cry,” Giezel starts. “I can’t even explain the emotions I’m feeling right now man. Extremely excited, extremely grateful. Our hearts are pounding and we’re not letting it go to waste. I don’t know, it’s a lot.”
The Storm didn’t let up as they opened the first two sets with 17-10 leads and withstand those minor runs that the Saints had mid-set before Chemeketa closed it out. And what showed their development as a squad was in that third set.
Down 6-2 to Mount Hood, the Storms brewed up one more push and rallied. Taking a 10-7 lead before the Saints called time. Chemeketa held strong, pushing their lead to 16-12 and didn’t let down after that slow start as they hoped to bridge this game into Friday’s game with Clackamas for Sophomore Night. For those unfamiliar with Junior College sports, Sophomore Day/Night is the two-year equivalent to a Senior Day at a four-year institution.
“We were so relaxed on the court and we played our game, I’m so proud of everyone. Going out there we had so much energy. I don’t know, I’m just so proud of our team,” Central-grad Kaite Fraley said. “(The third set) was crazy because typically when we get in our ruts where we’re down a couple of points, we normally don’t come back and the fact we came back and won that set was really good for our team knowing that we could come back and do that.”
“Before that third set, I talked to my girls and I just said ‘let’s play 110-percent until the end of the set’ because the last two sets, we swept them and we got that. But we normally settled down in that third set and we didn’t. We pushed through and every single point, when there was a dip, we were like ‘nah-uh. we’re not going to do this today’,” adds Giezel. “So when those dips happened, we picked ourselves back up and we just kept on playing.”
First serve for Friday’s finale is at 6pm with the Cougars of Clackamas Community College. Interestingly enough, a Storm win and a Rogue Community College defeat could move Chemeketa up to third-place of the NWAC South Region as the two teams are tied for third in the conference going into the final day of the regular season.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald