Blaine and Meridian volleyed the ball – and the lead – back and forth all night, but Meridian came out on top in every set.
The Borderite girls lost their first outing of the season 25–20, 25–20, 25–23 on September 17 at home. Blaine gained the lead briefly in the first set, held it for most of the second set and swapped it twice with Meridian in the third. Twice in the match the Borderites gained a four-point lead, but couldn’t keep the Trojans from surging back to take the lead late in the set each time.
“In general, we played good defense,” said head coach Bryan Clausen. “Our first hits were solid and our transitions were good.
What killed us was mis-hits over the net and bad communication.”
The Borderites are learning a new system, moving from a 5–1 to a 6–2 rotation this season. The 6–2 rotation keeps three offensive players in the front row at all times. With a new rotation come new assignments and routes for each position.
“The girls are adapting to a lot of new things, so there are bound to be mistakes made in the first few matches,” Clausen said. “As the season moves along, those transitions will become more fluid and roles will be clearer.”
Nicole Ortega and Kayla Ubil served up multiple aces for Blaine. Lexi Greguski showed tenacity and quick reflexes, diving for balls well beyond her zone. In front of the net, Mandy Hayes came up with big blocks and Mikayla Deming had moments of brilliance with offensive strikes.
“She pounded the ball a couple times. She can be very accurate and aggressive at times,” Clausen said.
A smattering of great plays didn’t add up to a winning night for Blaine though, as Meridian outplayed the Borderites with consistency and good communication. For Clausen, communication is the skill his team needs to work on the most.
“It’s so key in this game,” he said. “You need to listen to your teammates and be able to trust their judgment. Moving forward, that’s what we’ll be working on.”
Blaine will next host Lynden Christian on Thursday, September 19.
“It should be a tough match, but it’s early in the season and each match is a learning experience,” Clausen said.
“We’ll be ready for it.”