Since the loss in the 2019 volleyball championship to Santiam Christian, the Creswell Bulldogs have sought revenge against their conference rival to the north, but their most recent matchup would not go the way they had hoped.
Creswell played Santiam Christian twice in three days due to COVID exposure within the Eagles volleyball program. The Bulldogs played the first contest at home losing 3-1 and would lose their next match with the Eagles 3-0 on the road.
“Our kids have played so much better. They just didn’t play well today so I’m trying to just stay positive with them,” said Head Coach Anna Baltrusch after the game. “The good news is the next time we see them (Santiam) it could be in the championship of the state tournament.”
Creswell started the first set with a very early 3-1 lead and keep the set close until after a point from Creswell’s Samairah Quinones made the game 10-9 in favor of Santiam.
The Eagles would go on the offensive as they scored seven unanswered, making the score 17-10. Santiam grabbed firm control of the set after two points from Joya Euhus and Elise Linderman pushing the lead to 21-11.
Santiam Christian finished out set one with a 25-14 win following a big hit from Maddie Fields and a Creswell hit going out of bounds.
Santiam wasted no time in the second set as the student section cheers started to intensify and the Eagles’ play turned up a level. Santiam jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead forcing coach Baltrusch to call a timeout.
Creswell would come out of the timeout and make a few plays cutting the Eagles lead in half at 12-6, but Santiam continued to show why they are the number one team in the state to this point as they halted the scoring efforts for Creswell and would command the rest of the set with more help from Fields and Euhus.
The Eagles took the second set 25-6 in turn taking a 2-0 set lead on Creswell.
The third set was closer than the scoreboard would actually indicate as Creswell was able to string some points together and make well-executed plays. Quinones for Creswell made a great play diving for the ball and saving a point for the Bulldogs early in the set.
After two hits going out of bounds by Santiam, Creswell’s Emme Whitson would get two hits back-to-back as they would score four unanswered making the score 15-11.
The Eagles responded with a three-point run of their own, growing the lead back up to seven and putting themselves back in the driver seat for the set win. Santiam closed out the set 25-14 giving the Eagles a 3-0 victory over Creswell.
“They know what makes them play better,” said Coach Baltrsuch. “It’s talking and communicating and we didn’t do as much of that as we usually do tonight.”