Tuesday, September 20, 2011
No height, no problem.
If any team figured to give the Hood River Valley volleyball team significant issues this year, it was the Hermiston Bulldogs, featuring a lineup with three girls taller than 6 feet, including 2010 conference player of the year Crystal Schmidt.
The undersized Eagles found a solution to that problem: Hit the ball really hard, and hit it away from Hermiston's star hitter.
The Eagles pounded away at the net using a fast offense to win the match 3-1 (25-14, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20).
"I thought our speeding up the offense helped negate their height advantage," HRV coach Scott Walker said.
The Eagles sped up their offensive feeds to hitters Kaili Duffy and Meagan Frazier, and the tactic worked to devastating effect.
Duffy had 13 kills and Frazier had 10.
Several of those kills got the crowd roaring as the pair repeatedly pounded the ball either right by or off Hermiston defenders.
"I was sitting here sometimes going, 'Just set Kaili; she just hit the ball of that girl's head,'" Walker said.
After dropping a second game where Schmidt was able to get involved in the Hermiston attack with several kills, the Eagles refocused and managed to limit her involvement for most of the final two games.
The fast offensive attack required good coordination between passing and setting as well, and Walker felt his team showed that element can be a strength for the Eagles.
"We passed really well as a team in serve/receive," he said.
Shelby Carter led the Eagles with six digs, while Tracy Mok had 29 assists and served six aces from the service line.
The win pushed the Eagles to 2-0 in league play, 2-1, overall heading into a match at The Dalles Tuesday.
Last Saturday the Eagles won a round-robin tournament at Madison with a 9-1 record.
Carter led the Eagles in passing with 15 digs, while Frazier had 15 service aces and 25 kills, Duffy 26 kills and 2.5 blocks and Mok with 62 assists.