Salem — The Battle For South Salem is the product of a rivalry between Salem’s two most southernmost schools South Salem and Sprague. The Olys entered Tuesday having won the last three meetings, with South Salem’s last victory coming on September 19th, 2017 at home. The Olys are coming fresh off the Central Catholic Tournament at the Hoop, where they fell to Central Catholic and Jesuit in tight 2-1 matches, but swept Barlow and Sandy. The Lady Saxons dropped in three sets to Summit to open their season on Thursday.
Sprague came out hot, forcing a Lady Saxons timeout early in set one with the Olys leading 6-1 at the timeout. The Olys continued to come out firing, taking an 11-3 advantage before South Salem began to slowly crawl back. Trailing 18-8 in set one, the Lady Saxons caught back within 22-16 before Sprague closed it out 25-17 to take the first set. The second set had quite a different tone to it, as South Salem came out firing and testing Sprague. Although the Olys were still leading, the Lady Saxons were as close as 14-13 halfway through the set, but Sprague opened up a 4-1 run to lead 17-13. The Olys would close out on an 8-4 run to take the second set 25-17.
In set three, Sprague cruised past the Lady Saxons, seizing control from beginning to end and only having problems near the end. Sprague had a lead as massive as 21-6 before South Salem closed out on a 6-4 run but still falling in the end 25-17, 25-17, 25-12 to the Olys on the road. Taking the Battle of South Salem, Sprague’s Bridgette Smith and Celia Hubbard were joined by varsity newcomers Sarah Jones and Hannah Blubaugh in discussing the Olys rivalry win.
Smith on Sprague’s team effort, “I think we did better when we respected South. We kinda got a little too cocky and not respecting their team, they are a good team. When we did that, we were better than we were when we weren’t.” Hubbard on the rivalry victory contributing towards conference schedule momentum, “This win will help us to push and prove ourselves about who we are. We’ve always been the underdogs and it’ll just give us this drive towards the end of the season and push us harder to play our game and everything.”
Oly Freshman Sarah Jones and Hanna Blubaugh talked about their feelings about being first years contributing to a team that finished state runner-up a year ago. Jones, “Its pretty intimidating having the whole student section and the parents watching you, but you have to lock in, play the game, and drown that all out.” Blubaugh, “It feels insane, its the best opportunity I could ever have. Its all that I have ever wished for as a little girl growing up so its just surreal.”
Sprague (6-2, 2-0) travel to Mountain View tomorrow, South Salem (0-2, 0-2) face McKay on Thursday at home.