VALE — Earlier in the week, on Thursday, September 16, the Nyssa Bulldogs traveled to Vale High School in order to compete against the Vikings in an Eastern Oregon League conference matchup. For the Vikings, it was their first conference match of the year, whereas the Bulldogs were competing in their second conference game for the season.

The Vikings managed to come out with the victory in four sets, winning the first, third, and fourth set of the match. They managed to win the first set, 25-13, starting the game off with momentum. The Bulldogs answered back in a quick manner, winning the second set, 25-17. Subsequently, the Vikings were able to break the tie by winning the third set, 25-15. In the fourth set, the Vikings were able to earn the win, 25-22, as well as the overall victory.

“[It was a] great game for us. I loved watching them play with energy… [It was a] great start of league play,” stated head coach Shannon Steele as she continued to mention, “I was pleased with all of our communication and teamwork.”

As a whole, the Vikings served at 90% on the night during their victory over the Bulldogs. Sophomore Jojo Cleaver (5) led the team serving, going 18 for 19 with three aces. She was followed by her teammate, senior Lexi Cleaver (2), who managed to serve 11 for 11 along with two aces. Senior Jessi Arriola (8) managed to serve at 100%, like her teammate Lexi, serving 12 for 12 along with three aces. Junior Ali Aldred managed to go 12 for 13 from the end line, assisting the Vikings overall serve percentage.

Offensively, Aldred was, also, able to accumulate a total of 26 assists on the night as she managed to spread the ball around the court to create opportunities for her teammates to score.

In relation, Vikings Lexi, Jojo, and senior Kailey McGourty (3) were able to utilize Aldred’s passes by leading the team in kills. Lexi managed to earn a total of 10 kills on the night, in addition to Jojo and McGourty, both, earning a total of 7 kills, individually.

Having a productive offense is beneficial, but defense is still a necessity to earn the victory in any athletic competition. The Vikings understood that concept on Thursday when senior Taleah Zueger (1) managed to drop down to the court for a total of 30 digs on the night; which was followed by Jojo, who managed to earn a total of 17 digs, as well.

On top of her defensive performance, Zueger was able to earn the title of top serve receive, during the game versus Nyssa, with a rating of 2.5 out of 3. Jojo followed, shortly, behind her teammate by earning a serve receive rating of 2 out of 3. The serve receive is a stat that represents the team’s ability to field serves throughout the game. A zero is given to a serve reception error, whereas one is given for a poor pass or overpass. A two is given to a good pass, whereas a three is given to a perfect pass.

The Vikings will continue through their conference schedule with their match versus Burns on Tuesday, September 21, hosted at Burns High School at 6 p.m., whereas the Bulldogs will, also, be stepping back into conference play on Thursday, September 23, versus Burns, hosted at Nyssa High School at 6:30 p.m. (MT).

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