McNary sophomore Taylor Detrant hits the ball past a pair of Mountain View blockers (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
Before hosting Mountain View on Monday night, the McNary volleyball squad had a successful showing in their first non-league tournament of the season two days prior, winning three consecutive matches against South Eugene, North Medford and Silverton.
“We really connected as a team more. We leaned on each other and trusted each other and it showed in our playing. It boosted our confidence,” said McNary senior outside hitter Emily Lettenmaier.
The Celtics used that connection and growth to return to league play in dominant fashion, defeating Mountain View in straight sets (25-16, 25-20, 25-12).
Junior middle blocker Emily Blagg led McNary with 11 kills while Lettenmaier added nine kills. Junior setter Maddison Corpe had 27 assists on the night and junior defensive specialist Bella Rodriguez had a team-high of 12 digs.
“The weekends are opportunities to build and we had a strong weekend where we gained some confidence. Coming back into conference play, we knew that it was important to carry over the momentum and play our game, just like we did over the weekend,” McNary head coach Crystal DeMello said.
The McNary attack looked to be firing on all cylinders in the beginning of game one as Corpe connected with a multitude of talented outside hitters with a variety of precise passes, allowing them to execute easy kills, which put the Celtics on top 17-8.
“I am excited about our offense and the opportunities that they had. Maddie runs the court really well and our hitters are learning and growing rapidly. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” DeMello said.
“Maddie is a really good setter, and she is able to put the ball in the right spot for us. We connect with her well,” added McNary senior outside hitter Maddox Snider.
However, the Cougars responded by scoring five straight points, cutting the lead to 17-13 and forcing DeMello to burn a timeout.
“She told us to reset and bring the energy up, because our team feeds off that. We needed to come out of the timeout full of energy and push through whatever funk we were in,” Lettenmaier said.
The pep-talk ended up providing a much-needed spark to the Celtics as they took advantage of a pair of Mountain View errors and got kills from Taylor Detrant and Lettenmaier to score five unanswered points before taking the set victory.
After McNary was in command for much of game two, Mountain View was able to stage a comeback to get within two points at 21-19.
“A lot of the time teams need to be reminded about anticipating the play and reading what you can before the play happens. Where we got into a little bit of trouble was when we were reacting late instead of anticipating what was going to happen and moving to the most probable spots for defense,” DeMello said.
The Celtics, however, rallied to score four of the final five points to get the set win and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
“Fortunately, we were able to clean things up,” Snider said.
With all the momentum in their favor, McNary buried Mountain View in the final set. Multiple kills from Snider and Blagg helped the Celtics jump out to an 18-8 advantage. An ace by Corpe, soon followed by a pair of aces from Detrant allowed McNary to win the third set by 13 points.
“A lot of our momentum starts out with our serving and when the girls get on a run serving, it breeds confidence for them, so I really commend the fact that they were hitting all of their zones and transitioning well,” DeMello said.
McNary returns home on Tuesday, Sept. 21 to take on Summit at 6:30 p.m.
Matt Rawlings: [email protected]