By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary began the Crystal DeMello era of volleyball with a 3-0 win at McKay on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

“It’s exciting to get the season rolling,” said DeMello, a McNary graduate and former player in her first season as the Lady Celts head coach.

“It feels like there’s been a long build up to get the season started. Now that we’re going, I think the girls are ready and we’re pushing through. It’s a good way to start the season.”

The closest of the three games against McKay was the first one as McNary led 19-12 but the Scots came storming back to tie the set at 19-19.

“They started out flat,” DeMello said of her team.  “They weren’t focused at the beginning. They weren’t distributing the ball, so we’ll carry that over and keep learning.”

The Celts regained the lead on a McKay service error and held on for a 25-21 victory.

“It’s always good to be able to come back,” DeMello said. “It’s something I think a team has to practice because this is a game of momentum. It’s nice to know that they have that mental toughness to dig in. It’s also nice to see that they can execute under pressure. Playing under pressure is a learned skill so it’s nice to see that it’s there.”

Freshman Taylor Ebbs got the start and had two kills in the final four points to seal the victory for McNary. Senior Valerie Diede also had a kill down the stretch.

“We just got our momentum back and our energy back and our confidence and once we got that, we were back to ourselves,” Ebbs said.

The Celts carried that momentum into the second game, taking a 14-7 lead before putting away McKay 25-15.

McNary then jumped out to a 12-1 advantage in the final game and won 25-9 to finish off the match.

“The girls are a great team,” DeMello said. “Everybody played tonight. Everybody stepped in and I felt like it was seamless, which is something that I love about this team is that they can all play together and lead each other.

“Our opponents are always tough and you never know what they are going to do so momentum in this game and making sure that they cary it forward. That’s what we look for and that they stay disciplined no matter what the score is.”