Junior Emersyn Johnson, one of three team captains for the Vikings team, at the Vale v. La Grande game Aug. 29. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

VALE – Anyone looking for suspense Thursday night should’ve come to the Vale vs. La Grande volleyball match. The Viking ladies lost 3-1 at home in the first match of the season, but during that fourth set, players and spectators held their breath as a show of force from Vale made anything seem possible. 

When all seemed lost after the Vikings lost the third set 25-14, the crowd in the bleachers began to thin. But when the fourth set rolled around and both teams found themselves neck and neck at various points, the crowd was the loudest it had been since the game kicked off.

Vale pushed through after losing two sets to the La Grande Tigers in the non-league game, and tied scores at various points during the fourth set had the crowd rising to their feet and players bolting from the benches.

The Vikings went down 26-24 after the ref made a call that not everyone agreed with. What Coach Shannon Steele and her players saw as a block, the referee saw as four touches to the ball. 

The Vikings did not lose without a fight. Steele credits that near comeback to the team swinging back to what she calls the rules they live by: they passed, played defense and were more verbal. 

“For the first game of the season I’m very happy,” Steele said. She congratulated her players as they sat in a circle after the game “You played very, very well. Excellent job,” she told them.

Things started out peachy for the Viking ladies. A spike from sophomore Lexie Cleaver nabbed the first set for the Vikings with a score of 25-17. Steele credits senior Alissa Fulwyler for coming back from a crucial error and playing “exceptionally well.”

Overall, sophomore Jaymeson Jensen had seven kills; junior Emersyn Johnson made 10 kills; and Tyanna Norton had five. 

Steele said the biggest issue was that the team rode a rollercoaster. They started off on a high note and were up and down from there. 

“It’s a big game to play” at the start of the season, said assistant coach Kelly Rumsey of the faceoff against La Grande, a bigger school.

The Vikings, he said, are “doing a lot better than I think we expected.”

If Thursday night’s game is any indication, the Vikings’ future games are not to be missed.

Sophomore Lexi Cleaver spiked the ball to win the 25th point for the Vikings in the first set. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

Sophomore Taleah Zueger serves the ball. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

The Vale Vikings played their first match of the season at home against La Grande in a non-league game. The Vikings lost in four sets. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

The Vale Vikings played their first match of the season at home against La Grande in a non-league game. The Vikings lost in four sets. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

The Vale Vikings played their first match of the season at home against La Grande in a non-league game. The Vikings lost in four sets. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

The Vale Vikings played their first match of the season at home against La Grande in a non-league game. The Vikings lost in four sets. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

The Vale Vikings played their first match of the season at home against La Grande in a non-league game. The Vikings lost in four sets. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

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