Corvallis — The Crescent Valley Raiders were nothing more than an honorable mention on the 5A Volleyball poll to start the 2021 season, a program coming off a two win season just a few short months ago. To the media and landscape at large, they weren’t worthy of the hype of teams like West Albany and Wilsonville. Less than a month into the season, the Raiders are forcing us to pay attention and are doing it in forcible fashion, challenging the 6A dynasty Jesuit and defeating 6A/5A powers Wilsonville and Oregon City. Even with a sweep loss to West Albany on the record, no one can deny their status as a contender for the 5A State Championship this season. This whole earthquake has been written and directed by a tight knit group of freshman and sophomores, with a little bit of help from a couple seniors. It is in essence, the perfect natural disaster.
To fully digest who is who, you must understand the fabric of this team. The pillar of the attack belongs to Freshman Isabella Jacobsen, who clocks in at 5’9″ and sits as an outside hitter. Her technique has been effective, registering 65 kills this season in 19 sets, with a kill percentage of 47.8% after the weekend. This kind of a threat from a freshman isn’t unprecedented, but it also isn’t common, especially from a team that no one took seriously prior to a couple weeks ago. Jacobsen is also great at digging the ball out, registering fourth on the roster in digs, making her not only the best player but also the greatest threat to an opposing team. Jacobsen is like the Death Star, she’ll blow up your planet with a repetitive fire of kills.
Let’s shift to defense: Who is blocking your attack and digging the ball out on the floor? That also belongs to the newbies and a senior. At 5’11”, Taelyn Bentley is a brick wall standing the in the way of any kill attempt. She has 13 blocks so far, leading the team and has picked up numerous partial blocks along the way that have slowed down the opposition. If you want to smash down a kill, good luck with Freshman Kamden Mitchell, Sophomore Danielle Street, and Senior Kara Paterson all circling the floor like hawks, ready to feast on the opportunity to dig it out and get the offense rolling again. Its a repetitive torture for opposing teams: Bentley blocks it, Mitchell, Street, or Paterson digs it, Mitchell sets it, Jacobsen throws down the thunder. That ladies and gentlemen is how you scare an entire class of opponents through your chemistry and teamwork.
Outside the freshman and sophomores, there are several other cast members who make up this script, such as Seniors Madison Heagney and Kara Paterson, along with Junior Sophia Terwilliger. Individually, they could be a front line key on most teams, but together as a unit, they make up the biggest threat to the 5A volleyball establishment that there could be. This is an all-star lineup that has taken a set from Jesuit, beaten Oregon City and Wilsonville, and that’s just the tip of their season thus far. With more seasoning and experience will come results, and I’m confident that this team can win the state title in 2021. Wilsonville, La Salle Prep, West Albany, etc., don’t sleep comfortably nor feel secure, the boogeyman is lurking in the shadows and ready to take y’all for the ride of your life when everything falls into place. Crescent Valley is the perfect natural disaster, perfect monster, perfect combination, and it is an absolute beauty to watch!
The header image is from Mark Ylen at Mid-Valley Media!