McNary middle blocker Chloe Diede (9) taps the ball past a McKay player at the net. The Celtics won the match in straight sets (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

McNary’s volleyball team has gone through their ups and downs throughout the year, but it appears that they have found their groove at just the right time.

The Celtics ended the regular season by winning three of their last four matches, including a straight-set victory at McKay on Thursday, Oct. 24 to clinch a berth in the state playoffs.

“Energy really carried our team towards the end of the season and I think that is really what helped us win the last few games,” McNary middle blocker Chloe Diede said. 

McNary started off slow in the first set as McKay got out to a quick 8-4 lead. But the Celtics rallied to score nine of the next 10 points, thanks to kills by Zoie Warner and Taylor Ebbs, as well as a key ace from Alexis Eldridge. 

The Royal Scots got the score within one moments later, but Diede had a kill, plus a stuff-block as the Celtics put away six straight points to go up 20-13. 

“Momentum is the name of the game. Once we got a string of points, we started playing with a lot more confidence,” McNary head coach Crystal DeMello said. 

Marisa Ortiz ended the game with back-to-back aces to give McNary the game one win, 25-14.

The Celtics great serving carried into the second set as Ebbs connected on a pair of aces to put McNary on top with a 6-3 lead. McKay came back to tie the score, but Ellie Dean also found holes in the Royal Scots defense with a couple aces of her own to give her team the lead back. 

“It’s been something that the girls really have been focusing on,” DeMello said about her team’s serving. “They are tough servers, and when they are on their game, I feel like a lot of our other skills follow suit.”

Warner, along with Alyssa Garvey and Jazmin Zepeda, hits aces later in the set as the Celtics took a commanding 2-0 lead in the match after winning the second game 25-17. 

Despite McKay’s peskiness, McNary was able to assert their dominance over the Royal Scots in the final set.

With the game tied at 7-7, the Celtics went on a 10-2 run to take the lead at 17-9. Ebbs and Warner each had aggressive kills to put the game away as McNary took the final set 25-15.  

“This season is a climb, but these girls have progressed every single day, which was our goal at the start of the season,” DeMello said. “They rely on each other and they trust each other to get the job done.”