Wallowa volleyball figures to improve as the young team gains experience, and the Cougars’ first week is now in the books.
After dropping a Thursday, Sept. 3, match at home to Union, 3 games to none, Wallowa traveled Friday to Ione, where the Cougars again lost 3-0. To complete their busy first week, the Cougars took part in Saturday’s Heppner tournament, playing Kennedy (a Washington team) and Heppner. The Wallowa girls lost both of those matchups, 2-0, but the gap between them and their opponents was beginning to narrow, and the Cougars darned near won their first game against Heppner, a 25-23 loss.
Wallowa Coach Janea Hulse had some thoughts about the games at Ione and Heppner. Against Ione, she said, “The girls took a huge step in the right direction. They came out and played as a team and trusted each other. Their movement on the court was much better than the night before ... These girls were covering each other and pushing themselves to get to each ball.
“Riley Ferré is improving with every play,” Hulse said of Wallowa’s freshman setter. “Her setting is getting better and better and she is moving the ball around and finding her hitters.” Hulse added that middle blocker Beth Johnston, a junior, “did a good job on the net. She is gaining more control on her hits and that is proving to be very positive.”
At Heppner, Hulse said, “Mary Beth Hulse impressed me throughout the tournament. She started hitting the way I knew she could.”
Concerning the team as a whole, Hulse said, “every aspect of the game has improved. Serving was much better, passing has improved, which has led to better setting and much better hitting. Jordan (Ferré) and Beth (Johnston) are both getting stronger in their blocking and getting to be more reliable hitters. It’s great to see so much improvement in such a short amount of time.”