McNary setter Alexis Eldridge serves for the Celtics in the third set against Sprague (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

There were times throughout the match when the McNary volleyball squad proved that they could hang with seventh-ranked Sprague. But in the end, the Olympians proved to be too much for the Celtics, as Sprague took the match in straight sets, winning 25-23, 25-13, 25-11 on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

“Volleyball is a game that’s all about momentum. I thought we were on point during game one, but we definitely wavered in game two and game three,” McNary head coach Crystal DeMello said. “You can’t waver against a team like Sprague.”

Kills by Taylor Ebbs and Chloe Diede, as well as an ace from Marisa Ortiz, gave McNary the lead to begin game one. 

Sprague came back to tie the game at 6-6, but another monster kill by Ebbs allowed McNary to grab the lead back.

“We had really good communication and we just trusted each other and everyone was doing their job,” Ebbs said about the opening set.

The Celtics got stuff blocks by Zoie Warner and Chloe Martindale to keep the upper hand on the Olympians midway through the set. Alexis Eldridge added an ace, but Sprague rallied back to tie the game at 17-all. 

The back-and-forth play continued late into the first set. After trailing for nearly the entire time, Sprague regained the lead at 22-21. A block by Diede tied the score. The Olympians, however, scored three of the next four points to take the game one win. 

Falling just short of stealing the first set proved to be a backbreaker for McNary, as all the momentum shifted to Sprague when the two teams switched sides.

McNary fell behind 10-6 in the second set and then allowed Sprague to score seven of the next eight points to take a commanding lead. The Olympians eventually won the set by double-digits. 

The Celtics got off to a slow start once again in game three and couldn’t recover, allowing Sprague to take the set by 14 points.

“I think we got a little discouraged and just slowed down,” Ebbs said. “We know that we have a fight in us, but our energy went down.”

Even though they currently sit in seventh place in the Mountain Valley Conference, McNary still has an outside chance to qualify for the postseason. But in order for that to happen, the Celtics will have to win their next two conference battles.

McNary will host South Salem on senior night at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Then the Celtics will take on McKay at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24 in the season finale.