In its first two matches of the season, Hood River Valley High School’s varsity volleyball team hosted Pendleton on Tuesday and Lakeridge Thursday evenings. Both matches ended in similar fashion, and although the Eagles lost 1-3 in both, the early-season competition was a good measure of the team’s strengths and weaknesses in time to make adjustments for the bulk of the season.
“We’re the tallest and most athletic team since I’ve been coaching,” seventh-year head coach Scott Walker said. “But we’re a little inexperienced, particularly at passing. We’ve got some great athletes, but some haven’t played a lot of volleyball so they’re still learning.”
Tuesday’s opener counted as a league match and will be followed on Tuesday by another league match at Pendleton. In between, the team travels this weekend to Portland for the Madison Tournament; that’s three matches and a tournament in the first week of the season.
“We’ve got a lot of action right away,” Walker said.
The team returns home Sept. 18 to host The Dalles-Wahtonka at 6:30 p.m.
n Pendleton highlights
Eagles lost 3-1 (19-25, 25-15, 25-13, 25-15). Kaili Duffy led the team in serving with three aces and no errors on 15 serves. Tabitha Merten also had three aces. Merten was also the best hitter for the match with eight kills leading the team and Jestena Mattson and Duffy had seven each. Meighan Frazier led the team in passing with nine perfect passes; Duffy had five perfect passes. Amanda McCafferty had a total of 19 assists.
n Lakeridge highlights
Eagles lost 3-1 (20-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-16). McCafferty had a career-high 25 assists. Duffy and Frazier led the way with 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Frazier passed 11 perfect balls and had no receive errors in 22 tries.