Celts steal a set from Olys

Trinity Kampstra (12) and Taylor Ebbs (7) set up the block in McNary’s 3-1 loss against Sprague (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

The McNary volleyball squad knew they were in for a challenge when they faced off against Sprague on Wednesday, Sept. 18. The Olympians were the state runner up last season and came into their match with the Celtics undefeated in conference play.

Even though Sprague eventually won the match 25-15, 25-9, 22-25, 25-15, McNary was thrilled to be able to take a set against a state title contender. 

“I’m happy with how we competed and how we executed our game play. They definitely played with a lot of fire,” McNary head coach Crystal DeMello said. “That still isn’t the cleanest we have played, but I’m excited that they have raised the bar for themselves.”

Chloe Martindale set the tone for the Celtics early on with a pair of stuff blocks to open up the first set. However, Sprague rallied to score six straight points to take control.

A nifty kill by Maddison Corpe stopped the Sprague run, but with their dynamic hitters and offensive attack, the Olympians took the first set by 10 points.

It appeared that Sprague might easily sweep the Celtics in straight sets after winning the second set 25-9, but in the third game, McNary proved that they could hang with the Olympians. 

“We had nothing to lose, literally. So we came back and worked together as a team, not as individuals,” Martindale said. 

Zoie Warner started off the third set by scoring four straight points with a pair of kills, as well as two aces. Moments later, back-to-back kills by Taylor Ebbs put the Celtics up 14-7 and forced Sprague head coach Anne Olsen to use a timeout. 

“With rally scoring it’s all about momentum and how many positive things you can string together. The girls took advantage of the opportunities they were given,” DeMello said. 

Sprague came back to get within two at 16-14, but kills by Warner and Martindale gave the Celtics a more comfortable cushion. 

Ebbs would later get in on the action with an ace, followed by a kill. Chloe Diede then ended the third set in emphatic fashion with a stuff block, forcing the match to a fourth set. 

“Our team goal was to take at least a set off every team in the league. One of our strengths is being underestimated because I think we’re better than people think we are,” Martindale said. 

Sprague scored eight of the first nine points to being the fourth set and later took a commanding 17-5 lead. The Celtics, however, were able to make the score a little more respectable in the end, thanks to strength of their blocking attack.

“When our blockers are in-sync, it does a lot for our chemistry, and we definitely saw that in bits and pieces tonight,” DeMello said. 

McNary returns to league action on Tuesday, Oct. 1 when they host McKay.