WARRENTON — A quick sign that the fall sports season is really underway — the Knappa and Warrenton volleyball teams going head-to-head in their annual preseason Clatsop Clash.
The two friendly rivals met for their usual nonleague match Tuesday night at Warrenton High School, and the annual meeting continues to be a bit more enjoyable for the Warriors.
Claire Bussert’s serving saved the Warriors more than once, and Warrenton was able to defeat the Loggers for the seventh straight year, 23-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-21.
Still — in their first official match of the season — the Loggers had plenty of positives.
Knappa built a 13-5 lead in Game 1, behind some sharp serving from Aiko Miller, along with kills from Kourtney Tischer and Paris Vanderburg.
Warrenton rallied and tied the game at 23-23, following an off-speed kill by Leah Durham and an ace serve from Morgan Blodgett.
But the next two points belonged to the Loggers, on a missed serve by the Warriors and a Warrenton serve-receive error at game point to give Knappa a quick one-game lead.
The Warriors were never threatened in Game 2, as they jumped out to a 7-1 advantage.
Highlighted by kills from Bussert and Elly Blodgett and a service ace by Michelle Arney, the lead reached 21-11.
Elly Blodgett blocked an attack by Mack Strain, and Sagi Diego set Morgan Blodgett for a kill at game point, as Warrenton evened the match at one game apiece.
Game 3 was knotted at 14-14, before a small serving run by Bussert helped the Warriors to a 20-14 advantage.
The Loggers answered with a stuff kill from Ressa Inman and an ace by Kaitlyn Truax, pulling Knappa to within 22-21.
But — despite four missed serves in the game — the Warriors scored the next three points, with an ace serve by Melia Kupua at game point for the win.
Knappa had four service errors in Game 4, but the Loggers still led deep into the game at 21-19, following an ace serve by Miller.
Unfortunately for the Loggers, Miller’s ace would serve as Knappa’s final point of the night.
Arney set Morgan Blodgett for a Warrenton kill that tied the game at 21-21, Durham served up an ace, and the same Blodgett had back-to-back kills for game and match.
Miller, Truax and Vanderburg were a combined 36-for-38 serving for the Loggers, while Truax led with seven kills, Miller had six ace serves, and Vanderburg finished with 10 assists, six digs, five kills and four aces.
Sophia Carlson added four digs for Knappa, which returns to action tonight at Clatskanie. Warrenton (2-4 overall) begins league play at Portland Adventist Sept. 5.
“We had a very diverse offensive output, which I was happy with,” said Warrenton coach Staci Miethe. “Elly and Morgan were very solid at the net, and Claire is making the transition from setting all the way around to being a front row player nicely.
“Her confidence is building and that will be key for future success,” she said. “Melia played outstanding in the libero position. I am not a huge fan of the position, unless a player can show me they embrace it, and she showed me that tonight.”
The Warriors “still have some work to do on our communication and unforced errors, but that is to be expected with such a young team,” she said. “Overall I was happy with the good things I saw and not surprised with the rest.”
Junior varsity: Warrenton defeated Knappa, 25-18, 17-25, 25-14.