COVE, Ore. — A veteran Weston-McEwen volleyball team swept Cove 25-18, 25-12, 25-14 here Thursday night in a nonleague match to extend its early season record to 3-0.
“The scores look a little one sided,” TigerScots coach Shawn White said. “But Cove is actually a very good volleyball team and it was a great match. But it was also a very impressive showing for our ladies this early in the season. I was really pleased with what they did.”
White anticipates at least a couple of more tough matches Saturday when he takes his team to Heppner for a five-school round robin competition. Play begins at 9 a.m. and the TigerScots will take the court at 10 to face, in order, host Heppner, Dufur, Grant Union and Wallowa.
Grant Union and Heppner are two of the teams that will challenge the defending champion TigerScots in this year’s Blue Mountain Conference campaign.
“Grant Union opened up by winning their home tournament, and that included beating Burns in straight sets for the championship,” White said. “That is pretty impressive, and they finished fourth at state last year.
“Heppner is also solid again,” White added. “They were No. 1 most of last year and then slipped at the end and ended up fifth at state. And Union and Enterprise are two other very athletic teams. We have a very tough league.”
The TigerScots won last year’s regular-season championship but came in second at district and lost their first two state matches.
“We lost three of our last four game fives and kind of backed out last year,” White said. “We beat Grant Union twice in the regular season and ran into them again in the consolation finals at state and they knocked us out.”
That left Weston-McEwen seventh at state. Libero McKayla Carlin graduated and middle hitter Marlene Bodner transferred to Pendleton, where she is starting for the Buckaroos. But otherwise, the TigerScots return intact and White has high hopes for this year’s squad.
“We are all seniors with the exception of three juniors,” the coach said. “If our experience is not a strength, then we are not going to be strong. But this group has worked really hard over the summer and it is already showing up.”
The TigerScots were 68-for-74 serving against Cove, 92 percent, with 10 service aces. On the other side of the net, Weston-McEwen allowed just three aces.
“We are a team that is really built around serving and serve receive,” White said. “That is a very tough part of our game. Last night it was outstanding.”
Senior Taylor Rudolph was 15-for-15 from the service line with one ace and senior Danni Dearing was 11-for-11 with one ace and one dig. Senior Natalie Arnold scored four aces, senior Melanie Sederburg was credited with a pair and Molly von Borstel tallied one.
Von Borstel led the TigerScots at the net with 11 kills. Senior Betsy West added six kills, Sederburg posted five and junior Keegan Shepard chipped in with four. Junior Lacey Kuehn had one kill.
Arnold led the way with 14 digs, junior Madison Carlin added four and Dearing contributed three. West’s four blocks topped the TigerScot stat sheet, and senior Taryn Coffman was the team’s assist leader with 22.
Senior Melina Baker also drew praise from her coach.
“Melina didn’t have a lot of stats,” White said. “But she played well throughout. Sometimes it just works out that way.”