The Cheney High volleyball team began their season with a busy week, competing in the Lakeside jamboree, Sept. 9, defeating 2014 Great Northern League champions East Valley, 3-1, Sept. 10, and finishing 1-3-1 in the Lakeland Invite, Sept. 12.
In the jamboree, Cheney defeated Deer Park and lost to Lakeside. Individual statistics and scores were unavailable as of press time.
Head coach Heather Zorrozua said the jamboree gave the Lady Blackhawks a chance to apply some of the techniques and strategies they learned in practice, as well make some “fine tuning” to the lineup before the East Valley match.
“There were some things that needed to be worked on,” Zorrozua said. “It was really great to see them working as a team.”
Cheney’s hard work in practice and in the jamboree paid off against the Knights. The game scores were 25-16, 20-25, 25-19 and 25-15.
Zorrozua said she felt her team showed up “to play” and shined on defense, particularly Hailey Bridges, who stepped up in the back row and recorded eight digs, and KD Skillingstad, who had two blocks.
“When you show up in someone else’s gym, you’re already at a disadvantage,” Zorrozua said. “With the energy they had, they went after it. Even in that third game we lost, they didn’t roll over.”
Sophomore Peyton Stark grew into her role as the team’s setter, having 29 assists. Zorrozua said Stark had a “rocky start” during the jamboree and decided to hold a short setting practice before the match against East Valley.
“She changed the way she set and ended up playing a great match. She also had some great hitters helping her.”
One of those hitters was Pease, who led the team with 13 kills and four aces.
Some of Cheney’s momentum carried over in the Lakeland Invite. They split the first match against St. Maries (18-25, 25-13), then lost to Sandpoint (24-26, 24-26) and East Valley (22-25, 25-21, 11-15). They defeated North Central (25-22, 21-25, 15-11) before losing to Lewiston (19-25, 22-25). Individual statistics from the tournament were unavailable as of press time.
Zorrozua said her team’s spirits were high, but they were fatigued physically and didn’t have “fresh legs” during the later matches.
The Lady Blackhawks are 1-0 in league play and tied for first place with Pullman, who has already played eight matches this season.
Cheney played GNL rivals Clarkston in their first home match of the season, Sept. 15. They host Rogers in a non-league contest tonight (Sept. 17).
This week, Zorrozua said the team will continue to focus on blocking and defense. She’s also excited for them to play at home.
“There were a lot of Cheney students at East Valley and I think the team fed off that energy,” Zorrozua said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to use the home court advantage.”