McNary’s Megan Holland sets the ball for Keri Stein during the team’s 3-0 victory against West Salem Tuesday, Oct. 19. (Keizertimes/ERIC A. HOWALD)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Billed as a showdown between top teams, the Lady Celts’ encounter with the West Salem Titans on the volleyball court proved to be less a main event and more like a warm-up on the McNary march to the Central Valley Conference title.

The Titans lost several of their top players to injury the previous week and Celtics were unrelenting in their attack en route to a 3-0 win, match scores were 25-11, 25-13, 25-20.

“It was unfortunate that their best players couldn’t be part of the match, but we’re proud of our girls who took care of the things they needed to do,” said Dustin Walker, McNary head coach.

The Titans’s closest bid to a win came in the third match when they closed the gap to 23-20, but McNary sealed the deal two plays later.

McNary senior Madi Cavell led in kills, 10 and blocks, two. Deven Hunter put down eight kills and led in aces with four. Simona Arnautov had three aces. Megan Holland had 26 assists and Whittley Harrell made 15 digs.

The Celtics locked up a standalone CVC title with a win over South Salem Thursday, Oct. 21. The win put the Lady Celts at 9-0 in the conference and a final match against McKay the only remaining challenge to an unblemished record.

In the South Salem victory, the Celtics put 19 aces over the net on the way to wins of 25-6, 25-14, 25-15.

“That was a real confidence booster headed into the West Linn tournament,” Walker said.

Harrell led in aces with six and digs, 16. Cavell followed with five aces and recorded eight kills. Hunter added five kills and four blocks. Holland had 19 asist on the night and Keri Stein added five kills.

At the West Linn tournament, the Celtics beat Lakeridge and McMinnville in play, but split with Summit High School, a No. 1 5A team. Despite the split, McNary advanced to the final eight where they faced Jesuit High School.

“The first game went to Jesuit 25-12 and the next game went 25-17,” Walker said. “I was really happy with their second game and the adjustments they made between the two.”

McNary will avoid the play-in round of the state playoffs next week and hosts a game Wednesday, Nov. 3. In the interim, the team will be turning its focus to the weaknesses the West Linn tournament exposed.

“We’re going to work on shoring up the things we do well and defending a middle attack. A lot of the best teams in the state right now have really talented middle attacks,” he said.