Momentum can be a weird thing in sports, especially volleyball and basketball. The greatest upsets can be pulled off if the underdog has momentum, and has the favorite on their heels early.
This was the case through 2 sets between Junction city and North Marion. The 12 seeded Huskies had taken a 2-0 lead over the Tigers, and it wasn’t close for most of it. Junction City seemed dead in the water through 2 sets, the crowd was out of it, North Marion was seemingly already moved on to the semi finals, and even yours truly tweeted out “North Marion is running away with this one”. But again, momentum can be a funny thing. Just as all hope seemed lost and all momentum resided firmly on the Husky side of things, something changed.
Initially, a parent from the Junction City crowd went to the student section to urge them to make noise and be active in the game, to no avail. Then an assistant coach walked over and gave the student section a plea for help, though still to no avail.
Shortly after, just before the start of the 3rd set, a man in a lime green shirt walked over and joined the student section himself. Chants were now originating from the student section, specifically from the man in the green shirt. The Junction City crowd, outnumbered possibly 2 to 1 by their North Marion counterparts across the gym floor, all of the sudden were rowdy as ever. They were down 2-0, a deficit that is seldom overcome, but the Tigers not only fought on, they started to take the Huskies behind the woodshed.
The momentum was completely with Junction City, and the crowd showed it. The Valley Catholic v Banks game at the other end of the gym suddenly seemed dull and quiet, though both had student sections three times the size of Junction City’s, and fan turnout that nearly filled the lower bleachers. The script had been sufficiently flipped.
25-17 in the 3rd set, and a 10 point lead at one point in the 4th, the game had completely flipped on its head. North Marion would make the final margin in the 4th only 3, but nonetheless had allowed a 5th and decisive set to happen.
The man in the green shirt had effectively given the Tigers new life, now it was the teams job to close it out.
Junction City sprinted out to a 6-2 lead in the 5th, then 10-4. North Marion would not go quietly though, making a late rally to make the score 14-12 before the Tigers could close it out.
Valley Catholic winning its second consecutive state championship in Volleyball was one story, but the best one we saw between the games Friday and Saturday was when the man in the green shirt spurred the best comeback of the 2019 playoffs. Junction City would lose to Valley Catholic in the semis and Philomath in the 3rd place game, but still went home with a 5th place trophy.
If the Junction City roster is to be added to the trophy, as some schools add additional metal slabs to the bottom of trophies earned afterwords, we strongly suggest Steve Tedrick, the man in the green shirt, be added.
He was at the center of the best thing we saw at the Volleyball state tournament.