Cougars will take a break from league play this weekend as they head down to Phoenix, AZ for the Nike Tournament of Champions

Country Christian's volleyball team is rolling through the Valley 10 Conference without any intention of stopping.

The Cougars have moved to 16-2, 5-0 after winning their last five games in a row, losing only one set to Damascus Christian on Sept. 12.

And though most of their league games will not be much of a challenge for the Cougars on the scoreboard, they face challenges in other ways.

"The past week starting league play has challenged us surprisingly in many ways," junior outside hitter/setter Katie Sandberg said. "It's a test to see if we can play our Cougar ball and keep our pace no matter who we face."

Sandberg, who was a key component of last year's state champion squad as a sophomore, said those cushy league games where the Cougars know they're going to win give them a challenge to continue building their trust and confidence in each other as teammates.

"We as a team are beginning to see what we are capable of and how we need to go into every game mentally and physically prepared for anything," she said. "In league games where I know we will take the W, I hope we can gain trust and confidence in each other; these games [force us to] prepare for the unexpected also … [we don't want to] overlook anyone."

Sandberg said the return of senior setter/outside hitter Meghan McGrath has benefited the team by providing more strong leadership.

"With Meghan returned for good, we are surrounded by more sturdy leadership and we continue to build our chemistry," she said.

The Cougars will depart this week for the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Arizona, where they'll play against a number of extremely talented teams.

"I love my teammates and how tight all of us are; we are like sisters," Sandberg said. "I'm extremely excited about Arizona and just to see what we're capable of. Personally, I believe I will be challenged in my hitting due to the skills over tall blockers there, and also my blocking … I just hope that I block to the best of my ability and contribute to my team as much as possible."

Before the Cougars take off for that tournament over the weekend, they'll face Portland Waldorf in an away league matchup on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.

Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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