Bulldogs power past 5A Vikings in home opener

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(Photo by ERIC PLUMMER) The Sandpoint volleyball team celebrates after singing the fight song during Tuesday night’s home opening win.

SANDPOINT — Grace Hicks, Jenny Slaveck and Jazmin Stockton were ending points with authority, and the Bulldogs’ serving was strong in a 25-22, 25-17, 22-25, 25-18 win over the Vikings in home opening nonleague volleyball action Tuesday night at Les Rogers Court.

The Bulldogs (5-4) were clicking in all phases of the game, and ended a festive opening night by singing the fight song with the student section.

New head coach Jeff Hurst liked what he saw from his team, which was in control for much of the night. There were several lengthy service runs, with very few errors.

“First of all, the kids played with a bunch of physical ferocity that overwhelmed Coeur d’Alene. They had no idea what was hitting them,” said Hurst. “Our serving is ridiculous. Our service attack completely neutralized their two huge hitters, Schraeder and Horning. They didn’t sting us.”

The Bulldogs were able to execute their attack with strong back line returns, and setter Marina Breuner spread the ball around to an assortment of hitters, including Stockton, who hits much bigger than her 5-9 height.

“She’s the surprise weapon. She hangs in the air, and bang!” described Hurst, who felt several servers stood out. “Shelby Kluver, Lily Anderson, Grace, Jenny, their serves were tough across the board. We took care of the ball, set in rhythm and hit our shots.”

Kelly Horning blasted 12 kills, Elli Schraeder added four aces and three blocks, Taylin Rowley 23 set assists and Maggie Bloom 11 digs for the Vikings (3-2), who had difficulty starting the offense at times.

“We’re just struggling on serve-receive, and it’s a key to what our success is offensively,” said Vikings head coach Carly Curtis, lauding the defense of Olivia Haakenson in defeat. “Olivia came in and did a really good job in the back row for us.”

Complete stats were unavailable for Sandpoint.

The Bulldogs are at the Lakeland Invite on Saturday.

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