HRV volleyball looking forward to next year

The Hood River Valley Eagles varsity volleyball team concluded its season Tuesday evening with a 3-2 loss at The Dalles. The loss put the team at 3-8 in the conference and out of reach of a playoff berth, and although the team didn’t end in the position it wanted to, those who will be back next season have a lot to look forward to.

“We didn’t end up in the CRC standings where I thought we would,” said coach Scott Walker, whose squad concluded the 2013 season with a 3-2 five-set tiebreaker loss (21-25,25-17, 18-25, 26-24, 15-11) this week against the Eagle-Indians (1-8 CRC, 2-13). “I felt like it was definitely a match that we should’ve won. It certainly wasn’t the way our seniors wanted to end their high school volleyball careers.”

HRV finished third in the four-team CRC standings behind Hermiston (7-2, 8-8) and Pendleton (7-2, 7-8), while TDW took fourth place. TDW’s victory was its first conference win of the season.

“They (TDW) served better and hit better than we did, so that was the biggest difference in the game,” said Walker. “We didn’t serve well at all and that was our downfall. That’s kind of been the main weakness of our team.

“Service errors really hurt us all year.”

A lack of varsity experience was a contributing factor for the rocky road the team travels down this season; and something they’ll improve upon next year. Out of seven seniors on the squad, only Sydney McHale and Tabitha Merten had played on the Eagle varsity team a year ago. For those seniors, and Alyssa Rangel, Mara Christina Troxel, Megan Tegman, Rachel Lahti and Kayla Byers, Tuesday’s game marked the conclusion of their high school volleyball careers.

“It was an unusual situation having all the seniors but not very much varsity experience,” said Walker. “They all improved and made some great contributions to our team. This was one of the oldest teams I’ve ever had, with so many juniors and seniors. However, in terms of playing at the varsity level, it was one of the least-experienced teams that I’ve had.”

The future looks bright for the Eagles with six juniors returning for a good nucleus of players with varsity experience. Those juniors include the Karr twin sisters, JoJo and Jessie, who will be back as key team leaders next year. Lauren Winans, Jennifer Packer, Emily Viuhkola and Jestena Mattson will also return for HRV next season to form an experienced squad with six seniors who all have that important varsity experience that they gained this year.

“We’ll have a good group of players retuning,” said Walker. “All the juniors definitely made key contributions this season and it will be good to have them back for another year. Our success depends on finding someone who is willing to work hard to be our setter, which is such an important position. If we don’t, then we’ll likely be right back where we finished at this year. Hopefully, all the girls will work hard during the offseason and play on club teams in the spring and summer next year to help them improve and become better players.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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