Canby volleyball was riding high following a successful showing at their home tournament this past Saturday. After starting out the season 1-5, the Cougars went 2-1 in their tourney and placed second, and head coach T.J. Schlatter applauded her squad on finding their “scrappy” identity.
This past week saw the scrappy Cougars defeat St. Mary’s, 3-1, before hanging tough against the No. 6 team in the state in Oregon City, losing 1-3.
The Blues came to town Tuesday to face a hot Canby squad that was hungry for more. The Cougars pounced on St. Mary’s and opened up a quick 6-0 lead that forced head coach Kelsey Eby to call a quick timeout. St. Mary’s would close the gap to 6-5 before a beautiful sequence from the home team.
Junior middle blocker Chloe Annas, of course, was at the center of it. After switching to a 5-1 scheme in the tournament that focused on Annas, Canby continued to find her on Tuesday.
Annas responded to the call by delivering two powerful kills, which — coupled with an ace by Samantha Vandecouvering — put the Cougs ahead 15-5. The Blues failed to rally, and Canby took the first set, 25-17.
St. Mary’s countered with an excellent defensive attack that dominated the second set, 25-11. The old Canby team might have crumbled. The team at the start of the season would’ve bowed their heads. Not this time. Annas, sophomore Rayanne Schedler and senior libero Gabrielle Gray dominated the third set to take control.
The third set was more of the same. Gray had two phenomenal digs to keep momentum in the Cougars’ favor, and Canby took advantage of a few St. Mary’s miscues to win the final set, 25-20.
Thursday was a litmus test for the Cougars. Against top opponents West Linn and Tualatin earlier in the season, Canby was severely outmatched. But the story was different against the sixth-ranked Pioneers.
After dropping a close first set, Canby fought back to take the second set, 25-21. Oregon City was able to pull out the next two sets (22-25, 17-25), but the message is clear: Canby volleyball may not be down for long.
The Cougars (4-7, 2-4 TRL) will look to continue their recent stretch with games against Lakeridge and Lake Oswego this week. The Lakers were victorious over the Cougars in their last meeting. The way things have been progressing over the last few weeks, though, that could very well change.
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