McNary’s Baili Keeton puts the ball in play during the Celt’s game with McKay High School Tuesday, Sept. 18. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

If there’s one thing Lady Celt Ashlee Koenig wants to see more of in the McNary High School varsity volleyball games it’s celebration.

“I’m big on celebrating and getting way too into it,” Koenig said. “We don’t celebrate as much as we could and I want to see us have that confidence as we start the Central Valley Conference games.”

The Celts had much to celebrate after taking third in their pool during a tournament at Tualatin High School.

The team split games with McMinnville and Grant high schools, then beat David Douglas High School in the first round of bracket play 25-22 and 27-25.

“We had been practicing our communication on and off the court and that showed in our game against McMinnville,” Koenig said. “We took a step and grew as a team and individuals.”

After the win over the Scots, McNary lost to Blanchet High School in two consecutive sets of 25-16. The Cavaliers eventually won the silver division.

“Lauren Hudgins played outstanding at the net blocking and hitting. Allison McGregor and Baili Keeton played very well in the back row, and McKenzie Evers and Ashlee served well for us throughout the day,” said Kellie Scholl, McNary head coach.

The team is improving every time they hit the court, said Hudgins.

“I think that we are starting to come together as a team and you can see that,” she said.

Prior to the Tualatin tournament, McNary took a loss to Lincoln High School in hard-fought sets of 25-22, 25-23 and 25-19.

“Lincoln was quite a battle and we didn’t play as hard as we could have,” Koenig said. “I think it’s what made us step up in the tournament.”

Alyssa Andretta had four kills. Keeton made 12 digs and had five aces. McGregor added nine digs.

“I think we have a lot of talent and if we can pick up the pieces and put them together as a team we can be really good and do really great this season,” Hudgins said. “We just need to focus on the team, not let any distractions in and play for each other.”

The Lady Celts kicked off Central Valley Conference play traveling to meet McKay High School Tuesday, Sept. 18.

“The girls are continuing to grow as a team and I think we are really going to start clicking,” Scholl said.