The Hermiston volleyball team still is trying to navigate the waters of the Mid-Columbia Conference. Thursday, they got a taste of the regional tournament and the Greater Spokane League, with mixed results.
The Bulldogs beat North Central in their first match, then got swept by host Southridge to drop into the consolation bracket.
“They came into it with a ton of confidence,” Hermiston coach Amy Dyck said. “It’s tough playing back to back. You have to be tough mentally and physically. I’m excited for us to get back in the gym next week.”
Hermiston will host Shadle Park at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 in a loser out match. The winner will play again on Saturday for a trip to the state tournament.
After Hermiston beat NC 25-15, 18-25, 25-20, 25-23, they advance to the semifinals against top seed Southridge.
The Suns, who took both MCC matches from the Bulldogs during the regular season, had to rally in the first and second sets, but left no doubt in the third, posting a 25-18, 25-23, 25-15 victory.
“One good thing about this team, is we fight,” Suns coach Emily Otto said. “They don’t like being down. We are pretty pumped about playing for the regional title.”
Southridge will host Mt. Spokane at 6 p.m. Nov. 8. The winner will advance to state, while the loser will drop into the consolation bracket to battle for the No. 2 seed to state Nov. 10.
The Bulldogs opened the first set against the Suns by taking a 10-4 lead. They had a 13-7 lead, only to see Southridge pull within 13-11 behind a string of points by Bobbie Newton.
Hermiston last led 14-13. From there, Jordan Missett reeled off four points for a 17-14 lead. The Bulldogs would get as close as 18-16 down the stretch, only to face Sophia Sumner at the service line.
Sumner, who led the Suns with 18 kills for the match, served five consecutive points for a 23-16 lead, and a net serve by the Bulldogs on set point sealed the win.
The second set was a battle.
Southridge led 8-5 early on, and Hermiston had a 20-14 lead before the Suns rallied back.
The Bulldogs would hang on to a small lead until the Suns tied the set at 23-23. Two unforced errors by the Bulldogs gave Southridge the win.
Sumner had seven of her kills in the second set.
“Sometimes, the nerves get the best of us,” Otto said. “As long as we can stay mentally strong, we will be fine.”
The third set was all Southridge. After a 4-4 tie, the Suns took off. Sumner served five consecutive points for a 12-6 lead, and Southridge never looked back.
Sophia Streeter had eight kills for the Bulldogs, while Ireland McDonough had 10 digs and four aces, Halee Stubbs 12 digs, Kendall Dowdy 12 assists, and Courtnee West 11 assists.
“I don’t think people expected us to get past the first match,” Dyck said. “I like being a little unknown.”
Sumner added 13 digs in the match, while Ashlyn Dupuis had 12 kills, Shayla Hood 13 digs, and Kennedy Conrad and Missett 16 assists each.
In the match against North Central, Streeter had 10 kills and two blocks, while McDonough had eight kills, nine digs and five aces, Stubbs had 39 digs, Emma Combes five kills and eight digs, Scout Reagan five kills and nine digs, and Dowdy 22 assists and 11 digs.