Pirates Swept in State Opener by Walla Walla Valley

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YAKIMA — In its first state appearance in seven years, Adna’s youth and inexperience showed during a sweeping loss (25-18, 25-23, 25-19) to Walla Walla Valley Academy in the first round of the 2B state volleyball tournament Thursday in Yakima.

With five freshmen and just two seniors on the roster, No. 11 Adna struggled to keep up with the No. 6 Walla Walla Valley’s powerful outside hitter Sahara Browning, who kept the Pirates’ defense off balance.

Adna coach Wendie Dotson said a lot of it was due to the team playing in the first state tournament of their careers.

“It’s a different atmosphere, you have a lot of different things going on around you, it’s very distracting and you cannot hear balls being called in or out,” Dotson said. “We were a little bit green coming in here. We’re young and they were a little overwhelmed in the first game.”

The Pirates came alive in the second set, ripping off a 19-13 lead, but their offense suddenly stalled and the defense surrendered six-straight points to the Knights to end the set with a 25-23 defeat.

“It’s because (Browning) was in the front row, and we let her on the net so we have to do a better job defensively,” Dotson said.

She said she hopes the team can overcome their nerves for their next match and shore up some mistakes.

“We usually pass better, we usually set the ball better,” Dotson said. “We didn’t quite do that today. And it’s a different ball. The balls traveled out on our serves a lot more than they normally have. We just have to make those adjustments. If we can make them quicker, that will help.”

Adna faces the loser of Warden and Kalama at 3:15 p.m., Thursday, in a loser-out match.