OROVILLE – Despite playing short-handed, Oroville gave Tonasket everything it could handle in Tuesday’s non-conference volleyball opener for both teams.
Tonasket’s Devan Utt served up three straight aces to put the Tigers in control of the fifth and decisive game of a 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-6) victory.
Oroville played with just seven players as about 10 others hadn’t had enough practices to be eligible. Both Hornets’ coach Stacey Hinze and Tonasket coach Jackie Gliddon were coaching their first varsity matches.
“Most of the girls played their first varsity match and held up well to the pressure,” Gliddon said. “Our seniors are stepping up and being great leaders for the rest of the team.”
The Tigers’ serving proved to be the difference. In the three sets Tonasket won, the Tigers ran off a string of aces at crucial junctures, including five straight by Sadie Long in the first set, five in six serves by Devan Utt to finish off the third set, and three straight by Utt in the deciding fifth set. Amber Monroe also gave the Hornets fits from the service line and Ahlia Young was 15-of-15 serving.
Still, Oroville was in the match to the end, thanks in large part to its only two eligible upperclassmen for the match, juniors Brittany Jewett and Bridget Clark.
“I’m so proud,” Hinze said. “The girls really gave them a run for their money. With only seven girls and two of them freshmen, we were pretty fortunate that everyone was able to play their regular position.
“By the end we were really starting to play together. I’m really happy.”
Other statistical for Tonasket were Long with 17-of-20 serving, 11 aces and five kills; and Utt with 17-of-21 serving, 10 aces and seven kills.
For Oroville, Jewett had nine digs, 13 kills and 10 aces; Clark had 11 digs, five kills and nine aces; Sammie Walimaki had 10 digs, three kills and 6 aces; Monica Herrera had eight digs, four kills and six aces; Kara Vonderhaar had two digs, two kills and eight aces; and Andrea Perez had eight digs, six kills and six aces.