WARRENTON — The Warrenton volleyball team is down to just three varsity returners, but things may not be all that bad for the Warriors.
A number of players made successful varsity debuts for Warrenton, in the Warriors’ season opener Thursday night at home.
And the Warriors opened 2018 the same way they’ve opened six other seasons since 2008 — with a win over Knappa.
Warrenton won the familiar season opener between the two teams, 25-12, 25-19, 25-13.
“Defensive net play was a highlight,” Warrenton coach Staci Miethe said. “We had eight kill blocks as a team. I was very happy with the play of our younger girls. The majority of the team is underclassmen, so we have a lot of inexperience to overcome and a lot to learn.”
Warrenton built early leads of 8-4 in Game 1, and 7-3 in both Games 2 and 3.
The Loggers managed to keep it close for a while, but Warrenton used some strong serving and a Claire Bussert to Fernanda Alvarez connection to pull away.
Alvarez had a team-high 83 percent hitting mark, with four kills.
The Warriors were also 91 percent from the service line. Claire Bussert, Ruby Dyer and Avyree Miethe were all 100 percent on their serves, while Bussert served up six aces.
In her freshman debut, Avyree Miethe had a string of four straight ace serves in the first game, and finished with five aces. Alvarez — a senior making her varsity volleyball debut — found a hitting groove in Game 2 and continued it in Game 3, thanks to her senior setter, Bussert.
Bussert also set freshman Mia McFadden for a few attacks in the third game, which featured some strong play at the net down the stretch from freshman Leah Schewe.
Alvarez and Schewe showed off Warrenton’s six-foot-plus block, knocking down a few Knappa attacks.
The Loggers are in the same boat as Warrenton, as two freshmen were in the starting lineup for Knappa coach Jeff Kaul.
Aiko Miller highlighted a Game 2 stretch for the Loggers, serving Knappa from a 24-14 deficit to within 24-19, before the Warriors finally scored the game point.
Knappa struggled from the service line, missing 14 total serves.
Warrenton’s Melia Kapua had five digs, and Alvarez had three blocks for the Warriors, who host a tournament Saturday.
Warrenton “played very good team ball and spread around the offense, which we will have to do to compete,” coach Miethe said. “If we keep serving and blocking like tonight, we should remain competitive in our league.”
Kourtney Tischer had six assists and two aces for the Loggers, while Miller was 7-for-8 at the service line. Freshman Taylin Regier had two aces and two kills, and Hannah Dietrichs led the Loggers with three kills. Knappa returns to Warrenton to take part in the Warriors’ tournament Saturday.
“Although the scores seem a bit lopsided, I was not completely dissatisfied with tonight’s effort,” Kaul said. “As a coach I have to remind myself that we are starting two freshmen, which for them was their first varsity match, and a sophomore who played only a couple games last season at the varsity level. “The season is young and so are we, but we plan on growing stronger each outing.”
Junior varsity: Knappa defeated Warrenton, 20-25, 25-7, 25-15, 25-22.