Delphian may have been the 11th best volleyball team in the 2A division, but the visiting Dragons barely escaped with a 3-0 win over Neah-Kah-Nie Tuesday in the Northwest League opener for both teams.
Delphian won the first game by a narrow 25-22 score.
Delphian won the second game by a 25-19 score.
Delphian won the final game by an even closer margin, 25-23.
The Pirates had the visitors nervous in the final moments of the third game, rallying from a 21-16 deficit to cut the lead to just one point (23-22) when Delphian’s coach John Kertchem called for a time out to regroup. The Lady Pirates had scored two straight points on a shot by Mariah Johnstone and a kill by Alaina Holm.
Delphian scored the next point, making it a 24-22 game, but then hit a shot out of bounds to close the gap to just one point (24-23) and force a second time out by Delphian.
The Pirates did well against a strong team, according to coach Jenna Archibald.
“We played a tough match tonight. Delphian is a good team,” she said.
“I told the girls afterwards that I hadn’t seen them play this way – like a unit or a family – the way they played tonight yet. This was a first for us.
“They were more in tune with each other,” she added. “We are learning how to trust each other.”
The was enough praise to pass around, according to the coach. “Alaina Holms played a heck of a game tonight – blocking, swinging at the net. She was a very strong presence.
“I feel like tonight (Tuesday), overall we had a lot of solid players.”
Mariah Johnstone and Maddie Lambert both had strong streaks while serving, the coach said.
The victory moved Delphian into a four-way tie with Faith Bible, Life Christian and Vernonia – all with 1-0 league records. Nestucca, Neah-Kah-Nie, Knappa and City Christian each are off to an 0-1 start in NWL play.
In the other NWL games Tuesday, Nestucca lost a 3-0 sweep to Faith Bible. The Lady Cats were on the short end of the 25-20, 25-15 and 25-19 scores on the road. Vernonia swept City Christian, while Life Christian needed two straight wins to avoid an upset by Knappa in front of its home crowd.
The visiting Lady Loggers had the Lions on the ropes after picking up wins in the second and third game to take a 2-1 lead over their hosts.
The Lady Lions came back with 25-23 and 15-10 wins to pull out the victory Tueasday.
Delphian visits Nestucca
The Lady Cats will have a chance to move into the win column Thursday when Delphian comes to Cloverdale for a 7 p.m. contest.
Neah-Kah-Nie will be going to Gaston for a battle with the Greyhounds at 7 p.m. Gaston (1-2) is ranked 39th in Wednesday’s latest 2A poll from the OSAA.