First-year coach Eric Gohr and the Astoria volleyball team made their home debut Thursday night at the Brick House, and also made it a quick one, as the Fish swept past Taft in a nonleague match, 25-7, 25-14, 25-20.
The defending Cowapa League champions are still learning the ropes, Gohr said, but picked up their first victory of the year after a loss at Estacada last week.
"Our passing wasn't as consistent at Estacada, but we had a lot of fire there, we were focused and we had some good hitting at Estacada," Gohr said. "Tonight, it was a good game to get our feet underneath us at home, and develop some of the people hitting the ball who are taking on a bigger role."
Astoria jumped all over the Tigers in Game 1, as Kayce Lilley and Jordan Thoreson sparked the Fish to a quick 11-2 lead.
Lilley set Thoreson for a few power kills, then had a pair of taps over the net that found the open floor.
The Lilley-to-Thoreson combination could be a tough one to stop for opposing teams once Astoria gets into league play.
"(Lilley) makes it easy for our hitters to put a good hit on the ball, even on bad passes," Gohr said. "That's the difference so far this season. We can be competitive with teams because Kayce allows us to get our hitters in a position to attack the ball."
Astoria senior Kelsey Takko had a pair of aces late in Game 1, and Hannah Whisler closed it out with consecutive kills.
Kat Gauthier had a team-high nine kills for Astoria, with several coming in Game 2, in which the Fishermen built a 22-9 lead before Taft rallied for a few late points.
Astoria trailed 10-8 in Game 3 before reeling off a 14-4 run to take command.
Lilley set Whisler for two kills during the rally, while Emily Bunnell added a service ace and a kill off the block.
Gauthier's spike off a set from Lilley at match point capped the evening.
The defensive play of Takko and Dani Bergeson also played a key role in Thursday's win.
"Kelsey and Dani are great back there," Gohr said. "I'm lucky to come in my first year and have two established defensive players. They don't get a lot of stats or accolades, but not only do they play defense, but they do the majority of our passing."
Astoria will take a step up in competition this weekend, when the Fishermen take part in the Southridge Tournament Saturday.
"I'm excited - I think it's going to be great going to Southridge and playing against some big schools who can thump the ball," Gohr said. "It will make us better. I told the girls that if they're not looking forward to it, then our mentality is in the wrong place. I feel like it's a great tune-up for our league matches."
Seaside def. North MarionSEASIDE - For the first time since the 2005 season, the Seaside volleyball team has a winning record, as the Gulls started the 2008 campaign with a three-game sweep over North Marion Thursday at home, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24.
A big night at the net by Jamie Osburn sparked the Gulls, as the senior recorded 20-plus kills for the match.
Warrenton def. KnappaKNAPPA - The Warrenton volleyball team opened the season in fine fashion Thursday night at Knappa, as the Warriors cruised past the Loggers in a nonleague match, 25-14, 25-14, 25-21.
Warrenton was 63-of-71 at the service line, with Jordane Marxer (19-of-20) and Brooklyn Campbell (14-of-15) leading the way.
Marxer was 13-of-14 hitting with three kills, while Campbell had a team-high seven kills on 17-of-24 hitting, in addition to an 18-for-28 night passing.
Rhavin Collier added six kills and a block, Chelsea Smotherman had a solid night in the passing department, and freshman Madison Smotherman added two kills off the bench.
Jewell def. PerrydaleJEWELL - Make it two matches, two victories and two sweeps for the Jewell volleyball team.
The Bluejays opened the season Tuesday with a sweep over Willamette Valley Christian, and improved to 2-0 Thursday night, with a 27-25, 25-17, 25-21 victory over Perrydale.
Jewell trailed in all three games, including a seven-point deficit in Game 1.
The Jays managed to rally behind the serving of Amber Meier and the hitting of Stephanie Ames. Jewell's scheduled match vs. Life Christian tonight has been canceled, due to a lack of players for Life Christian.