The Hermiston volleyball team opened Columbia River Conference play with a three-set sweep of The Dalles Thursday.

The Bulldogs controlled the match from start to finish with wins of 25-17, 25-23, 25-8, and coach Becky Wadekamper, who had to call one timeout the entire night, said her team had a well-balanced offense and passed the ball well during the match.

Wadekamper said it was a great debut for a trio of sophomores at the net, especially considering Hermiston’s track record at The Dalles (1-6, 0-1 CRC).

“Their record doesn’t indicate how feisty they can be because it’s not uncommon for us to go five sets against them, especially down in The Pit, which can be a hard environment to play in,” she said of the Riverhawks. Senior Noa Ena had been in plenty of those match-ups already and led Hermiston (4-2, 1-0) with 11 kills, while senior Shandie Britt added eight more.

Hermiston’s only timeout came after The Dalles tied the score at 21-21, but Wadekamper said her team never showed signs of distress in closing out the win.

Britt led the Bulldogs with four aces with a perfect 13-for-13 record at the service line, Brea Kestler dished up 19 assists, Briana Wolfe led the defense with 12 digs and sophomores Kynzee Padilla and Hayden Meyers combined for seven blocks.

The Bulldogs will play at the Century Tournament this weekend before hosting Hood River Valley at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday for their first CRC home match.

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