The Viks started the season on the road, hitting Highway 95 to Weiser to take on the Idaho 3A Wolverines. Starting slow, Vale fell 15-25 in the first game and also fell in game two, 21-25. Weiser ended the match with a 25-23 win in the third and final game.
“We started out a little rough before getting into the swing of things,” said Vale coach Shannon Steele. “I saw a lot of confidence being built and we were able to knock some rust off.”
In the loss, the team served at 88 percent. Lexi Cleaver was top server for the night.
“Serving was exceptionally tough for us and that came out in a lot of plays for Weiser,” Steele said.
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The Vikings then had to deal with COVID-19 cancellations. Originally scheduled to compete at the Hannah Cashell Tournament in La Grande, Vale discovered the tourney was called off. Instead of La Grande, Vale found themselves in North Powder.
“It was really nice that North Powder picked up the date and was able to give us some playtime,” said Steele.
“I was extremely pleased with the communication to serve/receive and our ability to stay focused and come from behind.” Steele said. “The second game appeared to really flow well and allowed us to do our jobs.”
The service game was led by Jojo Cleaver, Elise Seals, Taleah Zueger and Maddy Churchill. Zueger followed up with 15 digs while Cleaver finished with 10 digs.
“Ali Aldred did the hard work of setter and set up our hitters,” said Steele. “She mixed up the sets and it was pretty even across the board and everyone hit in the positive.”
“Jessi Arriola and Wrenne Cooke came in and just did well,” Steele said. “I appreciated their ability to set a big block correctly and also to run some smart offense.”
Steele also saw good things from the opposition.
“Ontario is a vastly improved team of control and calmness,” she said.
“North Powder always has a great team that is scrappy and fundamentally sound and this year is no different,” Steele said of the Badgers.
“I saw a lot of growth from our players in this tournament,” said Steele. “It was a fun day and I am looking forward to every second I have on the court this season with these exceptional athletes.”