Lady Viks fall to Spartans in season opener

The Lady Viks will host Elmira this Tuesday (March 9)

Marist d Siuslaw:

25-22, 25-14, 17-25, 25-17

On Tuesday (March 2), Siuslaw faced off against Marist High School for the Lady Viks’ first volleyball game of the season — and first time back on the court since the abbreviated 2019 season. The Vikings fought hard, but eventually succumbed in set four, with Marist taking the win overall. With the first game under their belt, new head coach Ashlee Cole said she has a better idea of what the girls need to focus on for future matches over the next five weeks.

“It took two matches until we found our rally. We're going to work on how to make it not take that long and try to start from that first set,” Cole said of the team’s performance in the season opener. “Once we got that rally, we were golden. We knew we were starting to feel it. And I think [Marist] knew it, too.”

In the first set, Marist maintained the lead throughout, 

though scoring was fairly even during the first several serve-receives as both teams found their footing. However, the Lady Spartans found their groove after a few rallies and began to pull ahead to carve out a 12-point lead.

Sophomore Desiree Tupua helped bring the team back, serving three consecutive aces to establish some forward momentum and come within 2 points of tying the set.

But Marist still managed to eke out a narrow 25-22 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

However, the Vikings managed to establish the lead at the start of game two, thanks to three thunderous kills from Tupua, along with a hard-hit kill from senior Kya Blake.

The Viks held the lead through the first 9 points and seemed to be en route to tying the match, but the Spartans had other ideas, rallying to tie the game at 9 before edging into a 10-9 lead.

From there, Marist never really looked back as the Spartans held the Viks to just 5 more points for an eventual 25-14 win in the second set — finishing with an ace.

“I kind of knew coming out, we were going to be rusty only having seven days of practice, and this being our first game. I expected it,” said Cole. “We kind of beat ourselves, though. We had too many little errors that could have been avoided. Just trying to do too much when we should have just taken the easy way out.”

But by the third set, there was clearly more fire in the eyes of the Vikings, sparked by aces from Zoe Alberty, Blake and Tupua, who also had 3 kills and 1 block in the set. Tupua’s presence and strength at the net forced Marist to triple up on defense in an attempt to block her nearly unstoppable spikes.

Cole noted that Tupua’s prowess would be a big component of the team’s overall success this season.

“She's smart,” said Cole. “As soon as she saw that triple block go up, she instantly went for the tip — and she got a kill on that. Even those hits in between those triple blocks, I was amazed by it. She's got so much power.”

The momentum was all Siuslaw’s in that third set, with the Vikings hammering the Spartans for a 25-17 victory that denied a three-game sweep by the Marist.

Cole said she was pleased with the girls’ tenacity in that third set, where it appeared the team finally began to hit its stride. “I know that third game is what we're looking for every single time we come out and play,” said Cole. “If we can do that, we'll be looking pretty good.”

Much like the previous set, Siuslaw came out of the gates strong to begin game four, with Blake scoring a pair of kills, along with three from Tupua. In addition, Alberty had two skillfully placed tips in the set.

“[Zoe] had a few hits at the net, and then she had some decent tips in there as well,” noted Cole. “She knows where to set and when to set it; she's not just going where girls are calling the ball. She knows exactly what she's doing, and that's important.”

Unfortunately, the Vikings’ lead gradually evaporated midway through the set as the Spartans rallied to take the fourth set — and the match — with a 25-17 win.

Siuslaw’s next match-up is set this Tuesday, at home against Elmira.

“In a way, it’s good because it gives us a little more practice time before our next match,” said Cole. “We’ll make the most of that time to prepare and work on coming out strong from the first set.”

First serve for Tuesday’s (March 9) game goes up at 6:45 p.m.

As with all games, no spectators will be allowed but games can be seen through live streaming via the OSAA website.