Pacific d Mapleton
25-15, 25-17, 25-15
Pacific d Mapleton
25-12, 25-16, 18-25, 25-12
Sept. 11, 2019 — It was just after the third set of the second match between Mapleton and Pacific where the ref looked down from the net, smiled and said, “That was some good volleyball.”
The Sailors had just come off a string of losses as they hosted the Pirates for two straight matches. Waldport had been scheduled to play, but a communication error found that team driving to Port Offord instead of Mapleton — so, Pacific and Mapleton decided to do a double header.
“The first game, we struggled a bit,” Sailor coach Molly Dooley said. “We weren’t talking as much, but that’s going to happen early season with a pretty young team.”
It’s not that the fledgling team, which is made up primarily of freshmen and sophomores, were playing poorly. “There were some great things that happened in the first game,” Dooley pointed out. “We got a couple of kills in there, got some aces.”
But when the team isn’t communicating, things can get tough quickly.
“They’re still trying to get used to chattering, you know?” Dooley said. “And if they get quiet, they’ll get real quiet. So, we’re just trying to break that habit.”
And it's a habit they seemed to break once the second match rolled around.
The first set was a loss, 12-15, but with the second set, the Sailors started to turn things around. They began communicating more — and Brienna Jensen started to get aggressive, pulling off a kill block and an ace early into the set. She made a tip kill when Mapleton had possession, and then Heather Wierichs scored an ace.
It went back and forth for the first part of the long set as the Sailors kept the score tight: 8-10, 10-12, 12-13, 15-17.
But the team got visibly tired around the 15-point mark, letting the Pirates run away with the set.
“We dig ourselves into a hole and we have to get back out of it, Said Dooley. “That’s hard to do when you get down like that.”
But the Sailors didn’t give up. When the third set rolled around, they started talking again and the set got tight again during a series of long volley exchanges and tied scores: 1-1, 4-4, 5-5, 8-8.
When the Sailors’ Emily Stevens made an ace for a 12-9 lead, things began to change. Jozzy Roby made a tip kill, followed by a kill from Kiana Moody. Sudden, the Sailors’ score was climbing.
The crowd began to cheer as the volleys became longer and longer, and the smiles and the team's faces became broader and broader. They spoke up, communicated and worked together.
Then, with Mapleton ahead 24-18, after a strong serve and a Pacific error, the Sailors’ volleyball team won its first set against the Pirates.
It’s at that point that the ref said, “That was some good volleyball.”
“It was great!” Dooley said. “They worked together and played their game. You could tell that good things were happening, which is exactly what I want early season.”
Even though the Sailors ended up losing the fourth set and the match as a whole, it was clear that the Sailors’ confidence was beginning to rise.
“You could tell they were excited,” Dooley said. “It was just a good day.”
Mapleton returns to the court this Friday for a doubleheader at McKenzie High School, where they will face the Eagles and Siletz Warriors.
First serve goes up at 4 p.m.