Junior Tyanna Norton serves the ball at a match against Irrigon Saturday, Oct. 5. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

VALE – The Vikings finished the first round of league play undefeated after back-to-back matches against Irrigon and Riverside at home Saturday. 

Vale outlasted the Irrigon Knights in five sets of volleyball (25-16, 24-26, 16-25, 25-16, 15-8)in the afternoon and went on to sweep Riverside (25-20, 25-12, 25-13).

[Watch an interview with Viking players here]

The wins followed a sweep of Umatilla Friday, Oct. 4 (25-2, 25-13, 25-17) and a 3-1 win against rival Burns last month.

The Vikings now rank first in their league, ahead of rivals Burns and Irrigon. “Everybody’s coming after you now. So we have to work extra hard,” said Vale coach Shannon Steele. 

“Today was a great blocking and serving day,” Steele said after the Irrigon match. 

The team served at 91% against Irrigon. Sierra Cleaver led with six aces and Lexy Rodgers had two. 

Maycee DeLong had four blocks and Tyanna Norton had five blocks and six kills. 

Emersyn Johnson, Lexy Rodgers and Taleah Zueger each had 12 digs. Lexi Cleaver and Sierra Cleaver had six and five kills respectively. 

The Vikings dominated in the first set, but went on to lose the second and third set before making a comeback in the last two sets. 

“It feels really good being undefeated for the first round of league,” said senior Maycee DeLong after the match, pointing to a strong defense as the key to the victory.

The Vikings started off strong but slipped in the second set as the Knights fought back with impressive saves from libero Makenna Collins. A controversial ref call took away a match point from Irrigon in the second set, leaving the Knights a bit dismayed. 

Despite the grueling match against Irrigon, the Vikings returned strong an hour later. They finished off Riverside in three sets, serving at 93% during the match.

Amber Tolman and Tyanna Norton had four aces each. 

Jaymeson Jensen and Demia hardin had six and four aces respectively. 

Maycee DeLong made 22 assists.

The Vikings will play against Nyssa at home Thursday. 

Senior Sierra Cleaver, right, and junior Emersyn Johnson prepare to block an attack from Irrigon at a match Saturday, Oct. 5. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

Junior Riley Kesey prepares to serve the ball at a match against Riverside Saturday, Oct. 5. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

Sophomore Jaymeson Jensen subs with senior Alissa Fulwyler at a match against Riverside Saturday, Oct. 5. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

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