Salem — South Salem has been up and down thus far in the conference play, showing flashes of potential and moments of pure confusion, so playing against West Salem would certainly push the Saxons in every aspect of their game. The Lady Titans have breezed past McNary and McKay, but they fell in a rough match with the Bend Lava Bears 3-0, putting themselves in potential striking distance of league favorite Sprague along with Summit and Bend if they can find some rhythm and consistency.
Set one was the beginning of a crazy match, as West Salem battled hard against the Saxons, with South Salem being able to overcome their unforced errors to take it 25-23 and a 1-0 lead on West Salem. Set two also started well for the Saxons, with South opening up a 2-0 lead, but the Lady Titans quickly fought back and made it 4-4 in the early going. After taking a 9-7 lead, the Saxons made it 11-7 and forced a West Salem timeout. After the timeout, the Lady Titans battled back and made it 11-10, eventually tying it 13-13 and making the Saxons call a timeout.
West Salem continued on a tear, making it 17-13 and 21-13, with the Lady Titans eventually closing out the set with a 25-15 win. The Saxons opened set three with a 3-1 advantage, but the Lady Titans quickly flipped the script with an 8-4 lead. West Salem would cruise through the rest of the set, taking leads of 17-8 and 20-11. The Saxons fought hard to end the set, outscoring the Saxons 6-5 to end the set, but West Salem still took it 25-17 and a two set to one lead.
Just like the previous three sets, South Salem took the early lead 7-3. The Lady Titans also replicated the first three sets, calling timeout and going on a run to close the gap to one point. After some back and forth action, South Salem widened the gap to 17-12 and pinned West Salem to their back. Over the course of the next ten minutes, West Salem made a strong comeback, the Lady Titans took the lead, South Salem took the lead, and we went to “overtime”. In the extra volleyball, South Salem took a 26-25 lead and looked to force a fifth set. On the next rally, South Salem looked to close it out but the Lady Titans appeared to tie it once again when the Saxons shot went wide. However, upon further discussion by the officials, it was ruled to be touched by the Lady Titans and by extension handing the set to South Salem 27-25.
In the final set, West Salem took care of business, taking the opening point and never looking back with leads of 4-1, 7-3, 9-4, 12-6, and eventually taking the last set and match 23-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-27, 15-6. With the win, the Lady Titans avoid a setback and maintain a 3-2 record in conference play, while the Saxons fall yet again to a 2-3 record.
Talking With Lady Titans
After the match, the Lady Titans Kylah Newton and Ali Stupfel discussed the five set victory and maintaining momentum in conference play. Kylah Newton on the game, “It was a super fun game to play in, I felt like we worked really well as a team and we were able to fight for it and work together. I think having teamwork was the real key component to it.” Newton’s simple message on tracking down the Olys, “If we work hard in the gym, we can make it happen.”
Ali Stupfel on the Lady Titans block party and defensive performance, “Our defense has struggled to connect together this year, but we really came together and fought for every ball we possibly could. That set us up for our sets and our blocks and it just made us a better team.” Stupfel on the impact of the Saxons unforced errors, “I think it made a bit of an effect, but our team has finally found how to work together and be a team. I think that their unforced errors gave us some confidence and helped us out, but our team ultimately came together today.”
West Salem is at the Rogue Valley Classic in Medford on Saturday, South Salem is at the Oregon City Tournament on Saturday