Sports, Volleyball

Celtics beat Saxons, remain undefeated

In an early matchup of top-ranked teams, McNary volleyball defeated South Salem on the road to remain undefeated.

The Celtics (4-0) came in having not dropped a single set early in the season, while the Saxons (3-1) had gone 3-2, 3-0 and 3-1 in their three wins. On Wednesday, the two collided in a five-set thriller.

The McNary streak of sets won came to an end early, dropping the first set to South Salem 27-25. The nail-biter first set was a preview of things to come for the rest of the match. 

McNary stormed back in the second set, taking it 25-15, the largest margin of victory for any set Wednesday. 

The Saxons responded, holding the Celtics to 17 points in the third set. 

Staring down the first possible loss of the season, McNary bounced back again in another tight set. While the fourth didn’t quite need to go to a tie-break, it came as close as possible without, as McNary took it 25-23.

In the fifth and final set, McNary took control and came away with it 15-10. 

The Celtics have started league play with a pair of wins. On Sept. 1, league played opened with win against North Salem.

According to head coach Crystal Ayres, the hot start to the season can be attributed to all the work put in in the years prior. 

“The team comes out and works hard every single day,” Ayres said following the win against North Salem. “Coming in, they were ready to go with this season and they knew that they had goals set that they wanted to attain.”

McNary will get the chance to continue the hot start on Thursday when they host Sprague, and will look to get off to another quick start.

“Volleyball is a game of momentum,” Ayres said. “Coming out and starting strong definitely sets the tone. They’re excited, it’s positive, and it always helps to have runs.”

One of the main keys to this start that Ayres sees is the senior leadership. Seven of the 14 players are seniors.

“They’ve been able to really set the example and lead by example,” Ayres said. “I’m excited to see what they can do.”