Thurston sweeps past Roseburg in season opener
The Thurston volleyball team handled Roseburg in its season opener on Friday night at Robertson Memorial Gym.
The Colts swept the nonconference match by scores of 25-15, 25-15, 25-16. Thurston, a Class 5A team that is a member of the Midwestern League, avenged a loss to Roseburg in four games a year ago in Springfield.
Senior outside hitter Kaitlen Haas finished with 10 kills and six digs for the Colts. Morgan Gray added six kills and Alexi Sparks had eight service aces.
“I thought we played really solid,” Thurston coach Allix Baker said. “I was really impressed with our outside hitters and rightside (Gray), she did a great job. Our setters distributed our offense great, which is something we’ve been working on for three years. For them to finally have a successful night at it was a good note for us to start on.”
Thurston executed much better than Roseburg, which could never establish an offensive flow in the contest and didn’t serve-receive well.
“I feel like it was a huge learning experience. We learned a lot of what we can do better,” Roseburg senior middle blocker Breez Hansen said. “We can only go up from here ... that’s the plan and that’s what we’re going to work for in practice. Any mistakes we made, we can just make sure they won’t happen again.
“That’s what we do together as a team. It’s not an individual thing, this is all about a team sport. Team is family and team will rise together as a family.”
The Indians came out tight. The Colts scored seven straight points to take control of the first game, and eventually closed it out.
“I think we played our hardest and fought with a lot of heart, but it just wasn’t all there,” said Roseburg junior outside hitter Chay Swenson, who contributed five kills. “I think everyone was nervous. It’s always scary to have your first match, especially with such a large crowd we bring out. We have five girls who had their first varsity match tonight, so it’s nerve-wracking, for sure.”
Thurston scored 13 consecutive points to open the second game before Swenson ended the drought with a kill. But the Tribe wasn’t able to get any closer than nine the rest of the set.
“We have some freshmen, and even with the seniors nerves are always a thing on first night,” Hansen said. “It’s just overcoming them. The next match we’ll learn to overcome them even better.”
Junior Alyssa Fox led Roseburg with six kills and junior Rylee Russell had 15 assists. Freshman Micah Lake made 12 digs and senior Karey Lomica chipped in 10 digs.
Doug Magee, making his debut as Roseburg’s head coach, gave credit to Thurston but felt his team didn’t play up to its potential.
“We’ve got to establish a character here,” he said. “I believe those girls held together. I didn’t see any cattiness, any fueding. Thurston has a great team, but we should’ve done better. Our mistakes cost us a lot of points, but I’m going to build on the good points.
“Our hitting wasn’t what I thought it was, I didn’t think we’d struggle there. We struggled in passing. But I believe in every one of them. We’ll take it as short-term memory loss and move forward.”
Roseburg will host a nonconference double dual on Tuesday, with Sprague and West Salem visiting.