Wallowa High’s young volleyball team notched its first season win last week, 3-1 over Nixyaawii, bookended by losses to Echo and Griswold.
The loss at home to Echo was also something of a high note, however. Echo has a strong, winning team, and against those visiting Cougars, the home Cougars acquitted themselves well, scoring 23 points in the final set.
“I expected Echo to be a strong team and they did not disappoint,” stated Wallowa Coach Janea Hulse in an email message after the Sept. 25 match. “They have some strong hitters and are very scrappy. I was proud of these (Wallowa) girls because for the most part we were able to play well against them. The girls are working together more as a team and that shows in their defense.”
Oriana Wandschneider, returning to action after being down with injury for a week, led in total digs (15) and receptions (20). “All her passes were playable. She played a very solid game,” Hulse remarked.
Beth Johnston led the team with 7 kills for the night. “She was aggressive on the net and was getting her block up to help slow Echo’s offense down,” Hulse stated.
Jordan Ferré was also consistent on the net and was Wallowa’s leader for serves, totaling 16 with 3 aces and no errors.
Wallowa played both Nixyaawii and Griswold on Saturday at Griswold.
“In our game against Nixyaawii, I saw some great net play,” Hulse said. Johnston’s 13 kills led the team. Jordan Ferré had 9, Rylee Goller 5, Wandschneider 4, and Mary Beth Hulse 3. Both Jordan and Beth had 2 solo blocks along with a couple of assists. Mary Beth played great defense, leading the team in digs with 27.
All the sets against Nixyaawii were close, and Wallowa’s only loss was in the third set, a 27-25 battle.
In Wallowa’s game against Helix (Griswold), Jordan Ferré went down with an ankle injury, and Coach Hulse said the team “had a hard time adjusting to one of our leaders not being on the court. I believe that they came around, it just took a bit. I had to move a couple of girls around into different positions that they were not used to playing.”
Grace Pendarvis, who came off the bench to replace Jordan Ferré, was quite consistent, pleasing the coach. “I am proud of her play,” Hulse said. She added that Rylee Goller also “keeps improving. Her confidence is growing. I like that she doesn’t back down from any challenge.”
The coach concluded, “I would like to work on confidence with a lot of the girls because I think that we could have done better if they all would have been working towards their own team goals rather than worrying about how the other team was hitting.”
This week the Lady Cougars face