North Marion hits 10-win mark against Madras
Edit: The North Marion volleyball program will be holding a "yellow out" at the Oct. 3 home game against Gladstone to honor former teammate Brittney Willis, who passed away on Sept. 28. The Huskies invite community members to wear yellow and come to the game in support of Willis and her family.
In the final week of September, the North Marion volleyball team put together an impressive resume of victories.
In six days, the Huskies captured three straight victories to claim the championship of the Elmira Tournament on Sept. 21 and followed with back-to-back wins at home in their league openers over Molalla and Madras on Sept. 23 and Sept. 25, respectively.
But for a team that is 10-2 on the season and No. 10 in the OSAA standings, the Huskies are looking more at areas where they can improve instead of admiring their body of work over the first month of the season.
"We have our ups and downs, but we're getting there," sophomore libero Megan Netter said after her team's 3-0 win over the Madras White Buffaloes. "Tonight was really fun. We got to work on our plays and challenge ourselves in this game."
North Marion had little trouble dispatching the Buffs, sweeping the sets by scores of 25-8, 25-6, 25-8 to keep Madras (0-8) from logging its first win of the season.
Head coach Trevor Bodine complimented his team's aggressive play in the victory, pointing to sophomore setter Mackenzie Agnew's passing that set up the Huskies for some hard shots against the Buffaloes.
"Mack is doing a great job setting, and we did a really good job hitting tonight," Bodine said. "We were a little bit more aggressive tonight too, which is good. It's good to see us pounding the ball instead of tipping so much."
While the Huskies have yet to lose a set in their current five-game win streak, Bodine was concerned about the team's tendency to make up for sluggish starts with late-game rallies. Against Madras, he wanted his team to come out strong and not let the opponents dictate the opening salvo of the game.
"Tonight we got off to a quick start, and we haven't been getting out to a quick start," Bodine said. "We set some internal goals to counteract that slow start, and they met those goals. I'm happy to see that."
While the Huskies are enjoying their best start to the season in years, Bodine is keeping the team focused on their long-term goal of making it out of the first round of the state playoffs and into the quarterfinal tournament.
The tournament victories at Cascade and Elmira are nice, but only two of North Marion's 10 wins this season have come against opponents with winning records. The team's two losses came in 3-0 sweeps against No. 6 Banks (9-2, 2-0 Cowapa) and No. 9 Astoria (7-3, 1-1 Cowapa) earlier in the month.
"Those are the teams we need to step up against and show that we can really play," Bodine said. "They've got some good power hitters, but on both of those nights, we did not play well. They're good quality teams, and they were a good test. Those are the teams we have to beat."
Last week's slate against Molalla and Madras was a good place to start. Like the Huskies, Molalla (5-4, 1-1 Tri-Valley) is a team on the rise looking for a playoff berth in November. But the Huskies were able to rise to the occasion and take home a 3-0 (25-19, 28-26, 25-15) victory against the Indians.
As an added layer of difficulty, North Marion was hosting Molalla for the first time in their newly refurbished high school gymnasium. The Huskies had been playing across the street at North Marion Middle School for their contests against Astoria and Banks and were excited to break in their new gym floor. But the new digs are not finished, and the lack of noise-dampeners on the ceiling made the game a cacophonous deluge of sound brought on by a combination of North Marion fans and a traveling Molalla cheer section.
"Monday's game we couldn't hear each other talk. It was so hard to play," Netter said. "Molalla brought a whole cheering section. It was crazy."
The Huskies were scheduled to take to the road on Tuesday against the Estacada Rangers (3-5, 1-1) before returning home to finish the week. North Marion hosts Gladstone (1-10, 0-2) on Thursday before welcoming several teams from the mid-valley for the North Marion Fall Classic tournament on Saturday.
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