McKenzie d Mapleton
25-19, 25-15, 25-18
Sept. 21, 2019 — It was a hard-fought game for the Mapleton Sailors last Tuesday night as they hosted the McKenzie Eagles. Even though they suffered losses in all three sets, the Sailors kept fighting to the end.
“We did really good,” Mapleton volleyball head coach Molly Dooley said. “Honestly, they’re improving so much every single game, which is great. They showed that [Tuesday].”
Even though Tuesday marked the 10th-straight loss for the young team, the players have refused to get discouraged. Last week, the team had some steep losses during a UVC tournament, with one set against Umpqua Valley Christian High School resulting in a 25-2 loss.
“We were playing some really tough teams, so they had a tough time keeping their heads up. But today, they just brought it back like it never happened,” Dooley said. “There were some great saves tonight where I didn’t think the ball would be saved — but all of a sudden there was someone on the ground trying to get it. It made me very happy to see that.”
The Sailors started off strong in the first set, with Briena Jensen serving up seven points on a number of aces for a 7-2 lead. But the Eagles clawed their way back, tying the game 11-11 midway through the set. The score remained tied briefly, until the Eagles began to pull ahead after a time out. The set ended with a 25-19 score.
That threw the Sailors off guard in the second set. The Eagles gained an early lead, staying ahead of the Sailors by at least a seven point throughout the set, which ended in a 25-15 loss for Mapleton.
The Sailors rallied at the beginning of the third set, at one point holding a 11-5 lead over the Eagles. But as in the first set, midway through the game things got tied up, this time at 14-14, with the Eagles pulling away on a series of well-placed aces. But the Sailors refused to yield. Even when they were down 17-21, they kept diving and fighting for each volley until the Eagles finally pulled away for the win, 25-18.
Still, the spirit of the team isn’t diminished.
“Every single time they come in and say, ‘That was a fun game.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah!’” Dooley said. “I want that to keep going on. I think that if we keep working as hard as we’re working, we’re going to see the results that we want to see. I mean, even with a loss, there’s still been some really great moments and the great moments are starting to outweigh the ones where we’re not doing so well. It’s exactly what you want in this season.”
Though they aren’t winning games, Dooley said they’re quickly stacking up winning moments.
“It’s getting as many of those as we can and improving every game,” said Dooley. “We got a great stuff block there. We were celebrating that pretty hard. I think we’ve only had one other one so far this season. I’m just hoping that once they get the fee of that, they’ll think, ‘I want more of that.’”
But of course, they have not given up on getting that first win.
“If we keep practicing as hard as we are and playing as hard as we are, that win is going to happen,” said Dooley. “Very soon, hopefully.”