ATHENA — Shawn White was beaming here Thursday night after his Weston-McEwen volleyball team opened its season with a pair of hard-fought victories over Dufur and North Powder in the TigerScots’ gym.
North Powder defeated Dufur three-games-to-one in a third match.
“What a great start to the season,” White said after watching his team come from behind in both matches. The TigerScots defeated Dufur 16-25, 20-25, 25-11, 25-19, 16-14 and bested North Powder 22-25, 25-18, 26-24, 25-18.
“Both teams we played were outstanding teams,” White said of the two Oregon Class 1 schools. “I loved the toughness that we showed. We battled really well to come back in both matches.”
White noted that his team lost to Dufur and North Powder early last season, then earned a berth in the Oregon Class 2A state tournament and tied for seventh place. Weston-McEwen earlier had won the Blue Mountain Conference’s regular-season title and placed second in its district tournament.
“They may be 1A schools, but they are both very, very good teams,” White said of North Powder and Dufur. “Powder Valley has two of the best hitters we will see this year at any level, and just to keep our composure and keep fighting, that’s a great yardstick for how we are going to perform this year.”
White expects to learn even more about his team Saturday when the TigerScots play in the Hermiston Labor Day tournament. W-M will face Pendleton, Burns and Southridge in pool play, with La Grande, Baker and host Hermiston battling it out in the other pool.
McKayla Carlin, the only senior on the TigerScots roster, posted 42 digs from her libero position and also served six aces. She had plenty of support from a bevy of juniors and sophomores, several of them seeing their first varsity action.
Taryn Coffman, the TigerScots’ junior setter, led the team with 75 assists in the two matches and added 18 digs and six aces. Junior Molly von Borstel led at the net with 46 kills and contributed 22 digs and four aces.
Sophomore Marlene Bodmar, who played as a freshman, led the TigerScots with nine blocks and added 16 kills in the two matches.
Junior Natalie Arnold, seeing her first varsity action, led the TigerScots in the serving department, going 32-for-33 with two aces. Arnold also chipped in with 27 digs.
Junior Melanie Sederburg and sophomore Keegan Shepard added seven blocks each. Shepard, playing her first varsity match, also recorded 10 kills and Sederburg added four kills.
Sophomore Lacey Kuehn had an all-around varsity debut with eight digs, eight kills and two blocks. Likewise, sophomore Madison Carlin recorded 16 digs to begin her varsity career and Melina Baker, a junior, was 4-for-4 serving in her first match.
“One other girl you are going to be hearing from is Danny Dearing,” White said. “She’s a junior who will play regularly for us, but she missed these matches because of a family commitment.”