The first-match jitters got the best of Hermiston on Saturday in its Mid-Columbia Conference volleyball season opener, as Walla Walla beat the the Bulldogs 25-13, 26-24, 25-19.

“Obviously, losing is never ideal,” Hermiston coach Amy Dyck said.

“But it allowed us to see what we need to continue building on and what areas we have a pretty strong foundation in.”

In her debut with the Bulldogs’ varsity team, sophomore Kambree Baker led with four aces, two blocks, and two digs.

Halee Stubbs added 10 digs, Emma Combes chipped in eight digs, and Kendall Dowdy finished with 10 assists and nine kills.

“In the first set, we were still kicking the nerves out a little bit,” Dyck said.

“Half of our starting lineup is sophomores who have never been on varsity before, but once they got going, they started to find their rhythm. They were able to do some pretty great stuff.”

Girls soccer

Lanie Gomez had 13 saves for Hermiston, but the Kamiakin Braves still made off with a 6-0 Mid-Columbia Conference win Saturday at Lampson Stadium.

“It was a solid game,” Hermiston coach Freddy Guizar said.

“A lot of the girls were nervous. They knew Kamiakin was a very tough opponent.”

Gomez was one of Hermiston’s few key starters on the field on Saturday, as most were still out because of injuries suffered during practice.

“She’s an aggressive girl that is going to dive at any ball,” Guizar said of Gomez, a senior keeper.

“She’s not scared to go after somebody. She had about four 1 vs. 1s with Kamiakin players, and she beat ‘em.”

Jayden Ray added two shots on goal for the Bulldogs.

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