Undefeated And Experienced Open Door Christian Looks For Respect In A Crowded 1A Field

Troutdale — As I typically do in a given weekend, I go scanning around the state to see some nuggets that are hidden and need some more love. Last weekend, I come across the Valley 10 League with the typical powers Damascus and North Clackamas Christian, but there was a third team without a blemish: Open Door Christian. I couldn’t tell you where they were located, but I was intrigued and wanted to see whether they were the real deal or being a beneficiary of a lackluster schedule.

I came into this small gymnasium in Troutdale and surprised the ticket attendant with the fact I was a member of the HS media landscape. After I got settled in a bit, Athletic Director Michael Tompkins starts giving me the rundown on the program and answering my inquiries about them. More or less, optimism is high for the experienced program to go and make noise in the now expanded 1A landscape, which is top heavy with names like North Douglas, St. Paul, Crane, North Clackamas Christian, and others. So, who exactly is going to aid the Huskies in getting to expanded heights this season?

To fully understand the repertoire that this program has at its disposal, you have to start with all-around stars Natalie Van Vleet and Ava Edmonds-Smith. These two pack a strong punch for opposing defenses, as one or both lead the Huskies in hitting, serving, passing, and defensive categories. The thing is that neither one specializes in anything particular, they can both work anywhere on the floor and improvise to any situation that comes their way. The entire team is a hustling, scrappy squad that gives everything on the floor and aren’t afraid of a challenge.

Natalie Van Vleet throws up a block on Southwest Christian on Friday, Photo: Elite Oregon Girls

The duo of Damaris Visan and Miriam Visan are great complimentary pieces on this Open Door squad, as they both provide help in multiple departments on the floor. Damaris would be best described as a helpful two-way athlete, as she has registered the most kills outside Natalie and Ava, while also sitting fourth on the team in digs. Miriam plays big roles in the passing game for the Huskies, as most plays usually have her touching the ball at least once in a set play. Miriam has also been known to throw down a few kills herself, providing a supplementary need for Open Door aside from the main trio on offense.

Other key roles on the Huskies include Amelita Muntyan, Olivia Hill, and Claire Engelhardt. Amelita does a little bit of everything: A couple kills there, a few digs here, throwing up passes, and even picking up a couple aces along the way. Just like a good neighbor, Amelita is there! Claire also fits into the same category as Amelita: Does a little bit of everything and is a reliable piece when needed or called upon by her team. Finally, Olivia serves as more of an offensive weapon, specializing in kills and serves, along with a few digs here and there as well.

With a roster consisting of six seniors and four juniors, there is a lot of experience that Open Door is leaning on this season. They sit at 6-0 overall, playing against opponents with a combined 66% winning percentage, a very good number for a program that is looking to be respected on a much larger scale. The Huskies will have their cracks at Damascus Christian and North Clackamas Christian in league play, but their program will be challenged at the East/West Classic this week by some of Eastern Oregon’s finest. Not just a great chance at experience, but a wonderful opportunity to bolster their resume and really show their potential on a much larger platform to the rest of Oregon.

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