The week of firsts continued for the Hermiston volleyball team in Bend on Saturday.

Sept. 2 marked the first varsity start for Hayden Meyers and Kynzee Padilla, and they impressed coach Becky Wadekamper with their strong defense at La Grande. Saturday, it was the first tournament of the year for the Bulldogs and another first varsity game, this time for Maddy Juul.

Padilla was home with the flu, and Wadekamper brought Juul up to the varsity after just one junior varsity game for the middle.

“It was a big jump for her,” Wadekamper said about her freshman addition. “She got a block, got her hands on some balls and got a kill.”

In the tourney itself, Hermiston beat Silverton 21-12, 21-20 in the Bulldogs’ first match and split with host Mountain View 21-16, 10-21. The Bulldogs were then seeded into the top position of the consolation bracket — by number of games won — and faced 4A powerhouse La Salle Prep from Portland.

“It was a tough draw right out of the gate,” Wadekamper said. “They have a quick offense. They’re tall, experienced — you can tell they’ve played a lot of ball. It was a good experience for our team.”

La Salle defeated Hermiston 21-10, 21-10. The Bulldogs then lost to Silverton, 25-22 and 25-17 to wrap up their tournament. Despite the early departure, Wadekamper was able to find positives for her team.

“I thought the kids played very well against the adversity we were handed,” she said.

Hermiston will next compete at 8 a.m. Saturday at the SunDome Volleyball Festival in Yakima, Washington.

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