VALE – Since the start of the season, the Vale volleyball team has only seen the inside of a bus or a visitor’s gymnasium. On Monday, Sept. 13, the Vikings made the most of finally playing before the home crowd, downing the visiting 4A La Grande Tigers, 3-0.
The first set saw the Vikings jump out early, leading by as many as five points. The Tigers chipped away at the Vale lead and tied at 13 points, La Grande took a 14-13 lead off a kill by Makenna Shorts. Vale and the Tigers then went back and forth, showing equal points six times before Vale senior Jessi Arriola took over the service with the Viks leading 23-21. Knocking down an ace to up the score to 24-21, Vale’s Lexi Cleaver recorded the kill to give the Vikings a 25-21 win in the first set.
Set two started much the same as one as both teams went back and forth. With Cleaver serving an ace, Vale went up 6-4 and never relinquished the lead, winning set two, 25-18.
The Tigers came out quickly in set three, pushing to a 5-0 lead. The Viks battled back and tied the score at ten points, ultimately taking a 25-18 win for the match off a shot by Kailey McGourty.
“It is so nice to finally be home,” said Vale junior Ali Aldred. “We communicated well tonight as a team and although the tournaments have been fun, it was great to play in our own gym.”
“Playing in your own gym and before a student section like we had tonight really ups your energy,” added McGourty, a senior. “La Grande is a good team, really scrappy.”
Related: Photo Gallery – La Grande v Vale
From the service line, Cleaver was 15-for-15 with three aces and led the offense with 11 kills.
Taleah Zueger had 22 digs and Ali Aldred finished the match with 12 digs while adding 31 assists.
“I was happy with our offense tonight,” said Vale coach Shannon Steele. “I am proud of all the girls that came into the game. My substitutes did exactly what they were supposed to do. We had a tough start of the season and it is nice to finally be home.”