The Heppner Mustangs defeated the Stanfield Tigers volleyball team in four sets, losing 11-25 before sealing the victory 25-6, 25-20, 25-15 Thursday at Heppner.

Stanfield head coach Lacey Sharp was impressed with the improvement her team showed.

“That first set was a pleasant surprise,” she said. “We came out and played solid for 25 points. That’s what you have to do if you want to take sets from good teams.”

Sophomore Kaitlyn Burns gave the Tigers their energy throughout the match.

“Kaitlyn played with a lot of fire tonight,” Sharp said. “She was all over the court. She has really progressed since the start of the season.”

Burns has only played competitive volleyball for two years. Sharp said Burns is learning something new everyday.

“It takes a while to really understand how to move on the court,” Sharp said. “Kaitlyn has worked hard to learn those principles. I’m excited for her future.”

The Tigers weren’t able to keep the momentum after their opening set victory.

Sharp said her team struggled returning Heppner serves.

“They just served us out of the game,” Sharp said. “There wasn’t a lot we could do against them at that point.”

The Tigers played Arlington earlier in the week and were able to come away with a victory on senior night.

Senior Laura Herrera played well during her final home match, Sharp said.

“Laura was tremendous from the serving line that game,” Sharp said. “She has been our best server all season.”

The Tigers take on Union and Weston-McEwen today in their final two matches of the season.

Sharp said she hopes her team finishes on a high note.

“We want to give our best effort on every play,” she said. “Good things will happen when the effort is there. Our girls understand that, and that’s where our focus will be for the rest of the year.”

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