McNary’s Hailey Francke (right) leaps up to block a shot by the McKay Royal Scots in a game Tuesday, Oct. 26. (Keizertimes/ERIC A. HOWALD)

By ERIC A HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary varsity volleyball team closed out its perfect season with a 3-0 win over the McKay Royal Scots, but there were moments in the game when they had to wonder if it might slip away.

“It was really hairy at times and we had one of our biggest players down,” said Hailey Francke, a junior. “But it was cool knowing that even though we weren’t at the top of our game, we could still beat them.”

The Lady Celts won in three sets, 25-17, 25-12, 25-15, but the outcome wasn’t nearly a certain as the scores made it seem.

Heavy hitter Deven Hunter was sidelined early in the first match with a nagging leg injury.

“It took us a while, but we started getting more comfortable and playing up like I knew we could,” said Rebecca LaPorte, a McNary senior.

Madi Cavell led in kills with and digs with 16 each and added three aces. Megan Holland had three blocks, four aces and 24 assists. Whittley Harrell made 12 digs.

“We were working hard, but we need to clean stuff up, make everything neater and more efficient,” Cavell said. “We know we have to work really hard and play our game on our side of the ball.”

The win reaffirmed the team’s status as the powerhouse first place team in the Central Velley Conference and earned them a bye in the play-in rounds of the state playoffs. McNary hosted South Medford, the No. 2 team in the Southern Oregon Conference, on Wednesday, Nov. 3, past press time.

McNary had the good fortune to square off against several of the top teams in the state during the preseason and in tournaments, which helped prepare them for the postseason, Francke said.

“We tended to get scared when we first hit the court against them,” she said. “But as we watched them play, we saw that we could play at their level. Competing with them now is going to be more of a mental game.”

“No matter what team we get we’re going to have to have an winning attitude,” Cavell added.

The Celtics capped off the CVC competition with six slots on the CVC All-Conference teams. Cavell, Hunter, and Harrell were named to the first team. Holland and Simona Arnautov were named to the second team. Senior Keri Stein was an honorable mention. Cavell was also voted player of the year and Dustin Walker, McNary’s head coach, was named coach of the year.

“It says a lot about the talent on our team, and the respect the other coaches have for their talent and the McNary program,” Walker said.