Tensions were high on the Pendleton High School court on Tuesday night during the Bucks’ nonleague volleyball match against the Baker Bulldogs.
In the end, the Bucks won the season opener 3-1.
It wasn’t an easy road to victory. The first set started with Baker building a 10-point lead and ended with Pendleton ahead by just four points and a score of 25-21. The second set was smoother for the Bucks, ending in a nine-point lead and a score of 25-16.
Things really heated up during the third set, however, with Pendleton and Baker neck-and-neck, each scoring one after another. With the score tied at 15-15, Baker managed a slight lead, sitting just ahead of Pendleton with 19 points after Pendleton struggled to keep the ball in-bounds.
Pendleton left-back Carissa Cooley stepped up to get her team back on track, making three consecutive serves that Baker failed to return, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Bucks from losing the set 25-22.
“This was a solid game for [Cooley],” said Pendleton head coach Amanda Lapp. “She had a 14-point run.”
Pendleton seemed determined not to lose another set, putting eight points on the scoreboard for the fourth set before Baker even got one. Baker steadily made a quiet return to form, but couldn’t edge past Pendleton, which stayed at least six points ahead for the rest of the game, and ended the night in victory with a score of 25-15.
“We had a slow start, but the girls came back strong,” Lapp said. “This was our first home match, and we’ve got some work to do, but this team is gritty.”
Cooley ended the night with a total of four aces. Senior outside hitter Elizabeth House also played strong with 11 kills.
“This game got the butterflies out,” said Cooley. “Everyone had my back tonight. We don’t have the size that some of these other schools have, but we have the heart.”