McNary’s Simona Arnautov digs deep to pass the ball to the front line in McNary’s game with Lincoln High School. (Keizertimes/ERIC A. HOWALD)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

One of the McNary High School varsity volleyball team’s goals this season is to play with what teammates call “crazy energy.”

“We want to play well and with a lot of emotion,” said Dustin Walker, Celtic head coach.

During the team’s opening match with Lincoln High School that attitude kept them smiling and chattering between all the hits and misses of the three game domination, 25-9, 25-14, 25-13.

“I thought it was going to be one of the harder matches, but we came out strong and had a great crowd that helped us keep our energy up,” said Megan Holland, a junior.

Senior Madi Cavell led the team in kills, 15, tied senior Whittley Harrell with four aces, and put up five blocks. Keri Stein led in digs with nine and added three aces and five kills. Deven Hunter had five kills in the match.

Harrell, a transfer from Cascade High School got her first taste of 6A competitiveness in the match.

“There were a  lot of people in the crowd and that took some adjustment, but it was exciting to see so much spirit,” Harrell said.

The Celts traveled to Sunset High School Thursday, Sept. 9, for a hard-fought four-game match, 31-29, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19,  with the Apollos.

“I think we let go on a few points that might have made a difference in the match, but we fought really well and it was a blast,” said Harrell.

Unforced errors proved problematic for the team in the game, but the team played hard even when the going got rough, Walker said.

“Teams typically have a tendency to let down once you get that deep into points,” he said. “The girls worked hard, battled hard and we even had a couple of comeback points here and there.”

Holland, who had 32 assists against Sunset, was pleased with the overall intensity throughout the match.

Cavell led in kills, 15, had 19 digs and three blocks. Harrell led in digs and aces with 24 and four, respectively. Hunter put up four blocks and had three aces in the match.

Despite the loss to Sunset, Walker was happy with the team’s performance in it’s opening week.

“This is the level of volleyball we want to be playing at all the time and it means playing sharp, keeping unforced errors down and making more positive plays than negative plays,” Walker said.