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Eagle volleyball slips past Bucks to stay in first

September 24, 2011

By the end of their third game against Pendleton Thursday night, the Hood River Valley volleyball team was having some uncomfortable flashbacks.

"It was exactly what Reynolds had done to us," said HRV coach Scott Walker.

What Reynolds had done two weeks ago was rally from a 2-0 deficit to win a match on HRV's court.

After winning the first two games against the Buckaroos, the Eagles went flat in the next two but fought tooth and nail to pull out a 3-2 win with a 15-13 win in game five.

"It's our court," setter Tracy Mok said. "We can't let anyone beat us on our court."

The Eagles rolled 25-17 in the first game and rallied to win the second 25-21.

However, Pendleton then shifted its defense to keep a closer eye on HRV hitters Meighan Frazier and Kaili Duffy. Shots that had been easy kills were dug out by the Pendleton back line and the Buckaroo offense led by Shelby Sanders and Xayna Robinson went on the counterattack to beat the Eagles in the next two games.

In the fifth game the Eagles got back some of the momentum they lost in the first two games with a balanced effort. Shelby Carter had several nice digs of balls hit by Sanders and Robinson, and Logan Bailey, Frazier and Duffy all had key kills.

With the Eagles up by one and Pendleton serving, Duffy jumped up to block a hit by Courtney Schumacher-Sweek, and deflected it to Mok, who was able to tip it over the net between several Pendleton defenders and get HRV the win.

Duffy led the Eagles with 16 kills, with Bailey adding 11 and Frazier and Courtney Harvey nine each. Mok had three aces and 45 assists.

After being unable to get the ball past the Pendleton defense several times in the middle two games, Walker emphasized his team needed to hit around blockers when possible and the Eagles responded.

"I just tried to watch their blockers and set it wherever (Robinson) wasn't," Mok said.

The win, coupled with a 25-21, 25-16, 25-17 sweep of The Dalles in The Dalles Tuesday, kept the Eagles in first place in the Columbia River Conference standings at 4-0.

"It's nice but it doesn't mean much," Walker said.

The Eagles still have to play Hermiston and The Dalles three more times and Pendleton twice, and Walker thinks they will all be tough.

"Anyone can beat anyone in this league," he said.

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