McKinleyville Defeats Hoopa in Hard-Fought Games
By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune
Hoopa’s JV and Varsity Volleyball teams battled McKinleyville during the home game on Thursday, September 26, which saw both local teams defeated by the Panthers.
The JV team is composed by a majority of freshmen and first-time volleyball players, who continue to improve game by game during the pre-season.
JV Volleyball Coach Naomi Ames said, “Practice is going better and the team’s been improving a lot.”
Hitter Naishain Richards looked to be the star of the team during both sets against the Panthers. During the first set, she spiked the ball and followed up with two aces right afterwards.
During the second set, Lady Warrior Nameche Frank served two aces in a row.
Richards served four aces in a row, bringing the score from 20-24 with Hoopa behind, to 24-24 on the board.
Despite the strong play from the Lady Warriors, the Panthers won the first set 25-11 and pulled ahead to win the second set 26-24.
Richards said, “I felt blank right there. I think we can do a lot better.”
The Varsity Lady Warriors walked onto the court on Thursday without the Senior who’d been one of the cornerstones of the team’s offense. Hitter Jurnie Wilder was benched after suffering an away-game injury.
“I’m out for the season. I tore my ACL, back of the knee, and my meniscus underneath the knee,” Wilder said. “I might be out for basketball season too.”
Wilder, who hopes to play Volleyball in college next year, did not look happy when she delivered the news.
She and fellow Lady Warrior Claudia Patino had a great dynamic on the court, with Patino setting and Wilder jumping up and striking lightning-fast.
With Wilder out for the season, the team is left scrambling to come up with a new strategy. Hitter Lindsey Billings is coming up to the front more, and Winnie Carpenter was on the court as a Varsity player for the first time on Thursday.
Varsity Volleyball Coach Erika Chase said, “We just added a second setter, so that takes some of the pressure off.”
McKinleyville quickly took the first two sets against the Hoopa Varsity team, winning 25-16 and 25-13, before the Lady Warriors settled into the new team rhythm.
The third set of the night was a neck-and-neck nail-biter as the home team stepped up their game against the Panthers.
An ace from Felice Cervantes brought the score to 19-18, just before McKinleyville spiked and the two teams tied again at 19-19.
After several long volleys and points scored by both teams, Patino served an ace that shifted the board to 25-24. The JV and Varsity Cheer squads clapped, sang, and cheered from just off the court.
A few minutes later, it was over. McKinleyville had squeaked by with a narrow 27-25 victory in the third set, and took the game 3-0.
The Varsity Lady Warriors have until their first league game at Ferndale on Tuesday, October 8, to get used to their new team setup.
If they can perform in league play as well as they played in their third set against McKinleyville, they should have a great season ahead of them.
Chase said, “We’re in a transition.”