Volleyball team struggles through growing pains

By DAVE LEDER

News staff writer

A move out of the Mt. Hood Conference was supposed to do the HRV volleyball team some good this season.

Getting away from playing state powerhouses like Gresham, Barlow and Central Catholic every night was sure to provide some relief for an Eagles squad that is rich in heart, but not blessed with much height or varsity experience.

“We’re a very short and very young team,” said senior Canela Wood, who is discovering that Intermountain Conference teams are no easier to overcome than the MHC competition.

“We have a blocking disadvantage against the tall, athletic girls from Bend and Pendleton because most of their ‘short’ players are as big as our tallest,” she said.

HRV, now 0-9, hosted its final two IMC matches of the season last Friday and was unable to overcome Bend or Mountain View. They now go on the road for the final five matches of the season, beginning with fourth-place Hermiston on Thursday.

“I knew the IMC would be tough,” said sophomore Meghan Flink, the lone varsity returnee from the 2001 squad. “Most of the teams have girls who play year-round and you have to have strategy when you go up against them. You can’t just go up and crank (the ball).”

Some, like senior hitter Kathryn Guisto, were expecting a slightly different transition into the Intermountain Conference.

“I heard it would be easier, but it’s been a pretty tough adjustment so far,” she said.

The Eagles took a break from the hard-hitting IMC teams the past two weekend to play at invitational tournaments in Portland and McMinnville. Coach Molly Kissinger said the experience was very positive and that the team was able to win a few games.

“It was good to see us get a couple wins,” she said. “This is proving to be a pretty difficult year, but I can tell everyone is still having fun together.”

The players agree:

“The best part about this team is that we all get along,” Wood said. “We’re playing a lot better together, which has helped us become one big, happy family.”

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