After somewhat unexpectedly dropping their first two games to Crescent Valley and Philomath, last Tuesday gave all indications that Cottage Grove volleyball has gotten into the swing of things.
Taking on visiting Klamath Union (5-3) on Sept. 12 for their second home match, the Lions made quick work of the Pelicans, winning 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-11). Amidst a buzzing atmosphere - fervent fans, a boisterous student cheering section and even players dancing between points - Cottage Grove took care of business in just over an hour.
“Shane May, our announcer, when he’s there to play music it’s great. It really helps get the crowd into it also, and the crowd was great on Thursday,” said head coach Kendra Anderson.
Whether it was the music that spurred the team on to victory is a dubious mystery, but “playing loose” is an oft-heard term in many sports and the young women of the volleyball team looked relaxed and ready for league play in their sixth game of the season and second consecutive 3-0 victory.
Sophomore libero Taylor McKay looked like a fixture in the starting lineup, freshman Blakely Herbert communicated loudly with her teammates in a way that typically belies young players and keystone leaders Matty Ladd (jr.) and Gracie Arnold (so.) defended the net and spiked the ball in customary impressive fashion.
“Her hangtime is so impressive,” one spectator was overheard saying about Ladd as she rose above the net again and again. Ladd finished the game with 13 kills in total.
Additionally for the Lions, Arnold had nine kills and one block, McKay finished with six digs, Izabell Senters (so.) smashed five aces and Peyton Kidd (so.) had 31 assists and five digs.
This game was also special as it was an OSAA Endowment game. Endowment games are a way for the OSAA Foundation, a non-profit fundraising wing of the high school athletics association, to use portions of ticket sales to raise money that is used to help underprivileged student-athletes afford any fees or equipment that might otherwise hinder them from playing a sport.
The team’s next match will be held tomorrow, Thurs., Sept. 19 at Cottage Grove High School where the Lions will take on Siuslaw (3-2) at 6:30 p.m. before heading East to the Sisters Tournament on Sat., Sept. 21.