The Del Norte volleyball team jumped ahead early in all three sets against Brookings and held on for a 25-18, 25-15, 25-16 sweep on Monday in Thunen Gym.
The Warriors jumped out to a 10-1 lead over the Bruins in the first set, a 6-1 lead in the second set, and a 5-1 lead in the third set and managed to keep Brookings at arm’s length and hold on for the win.
Del Norte head coach Sarah Levi saw a little more of the consistency that she has been searching for early in the season and a Warrior offense that was more aggressive at times.
“I think we are becoming more consistent, which has been our big issue,” Levi said. “Over the last couple games our hitting hasn’t quite been where I think it should be, but we picked that up tonight, did a lot better.”
Although playing under first-year head coach Levi, Brookings coach Lorinda Shew thought the Warriors provided a stiff early-season test once again for her Bruins.
“We play Del Norte every year, and they are always a strong competitor,” Shew said. “They always have great passing and great mechanics, and this time was no different.”
Although Del Norte took control of all three sets and never trailed in the match, the Bruins managed to put together a run or two in each game to keep the scores competitive.
“They were just refusing to give up,” Shew said of the Bruins. “They had some odd scrappy plays that they just had nothing to lose so they went for it. It paid off for them a few times. It was fun to watch the girls. They kept their spirits up regardless of the score, and that is actually one of our team goals. Even the girls on the bench were in it.”
Although the Bruins were able to keep all three sets from getting out of hand, Del Norte came through in the end and finished each set with a kill.
Levi said the Warriors offense is starting to show more of the aggression that she is looking for out of her hitters.
“At times I saw them go for the kill more. They had a more aggressive attitude,” Levi said. “We definitely switched it up though and had some good tips too. We were also running some slides in the middle that we have been working on and a couple of them were successful.”
Senior Katherine Martinez lead the Warriors with 12 kills in the match. Kaleya Sanchez added 10 kills and another block for a kill to go along with two serving aces.
Setter Bella Stone dished out 26 assists to go along with a team high four aces and a block.
Mayce McCollum led Brookings with four kills and five digs, while Sanoe Fanene also had five digs for the Bruins. Three other Brookings hitters finished with three kills apiece.
With the win, Del Norte improves to 7-1 overall this season. Although Levi said the team has been playing fairly well, there is still a lot of room for improvement before Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 play kicks off next week.
“We will probably still focus on our hitting and just trying to keep the energy up,” Levi said. “We definitely need to be talking with each other more and communicate before the play. We will always work on serve-receive too.”
Del Norte will kick off league play on Sept. 18 on the road in Eureka, but the Warriors still have one more competition before they kick off HDN play. The Warriors will be in Anderson for a two-day tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Traditionally, the Anderson Tournament is Del Norte’s most difficult competition before the Big 5 season.
“I am really hoping to see them just go all out and play like I know they know how to play,” Levi said. “I want them to be aggressive and want to definitely win. I want to see them play hard, get the dig and get the kill. I’m hoping we get to that point this weekend.”
Reach Michael Zogg at email@example.com .