LEWISTON, Idaho – The three-time defending Frontier Conference champions Lewis-Clark State College women’s volleyball team got its 2010 season off to a thunderous start with a 25-6, 25-18, 25-9 win over Walla Walla University in the opening game of the LCSC Invitational at the Activity Center on Thursday night.
The Warriors, ranked No. 15 in the NAIA preseason poll, overpowered the Wolves at the net by hitting .337 and tallying 41 kills, compared to a negative 0.46 hitting percentage and 12 kills for the Wolves.
“I’m happy overall with the performance of everyone,” LCSC coach Jen Greeny said. “It’s always good to get in that first match and get over the jitters. I’m really happy with everyone and our offense overall.”
The Warriors dominated the match, which was the only one scheduled on Thursday in the three-day six-team round-robin event. Six matches are scheduled for Friday and four more on Saturday involving LCSC, Walla Walla, Warner Pacific, Northwest Christian, Northwest University, and Carroll. The first match of the day starts at 9 a.m. with Warner Pacific and Walla Walla, followed by Northwest Christian and LCSC. The Warriors also play Northwest University on Friday at 7 p.m. and then wrap up play in Saturday’s final match at 3 p.m. against Warner Pacific.
Greeny was able to empty her bench early and used 15 players during the match. Only Demi Dlouhy, who is out with a twisted ankle, and Liz Clark, also out with an injury, didn’t play. Despite using a variety of lineups, LCSC never missed a beat in rolling to the win.
The Warriors were in control from the start, jumping out to a 10-3 lead in the first game with dominating blocks and hits at the net. The Warrior stretched the lead to 17-4 and then ran off the final six points for the win. Of Walla Walla’s six points, half came on service errors by LCSC.
“We started off pretty hot with our blocks and I thought we played well offensively,” Greeny said.
The Wolves kept the second game close and trailed only 14-11 and 21-18, but the Warriors ran off the final four points behind strong serving from senior Kim Fong.
The third game was more of the same as LCSC led 10-4 early and then scored 12 of the final 13 points to win going away.
“We came in pretty confident and it was a great team effort,” LCSC junior outside hitter Kelli Tikker said. “We’ve been anxious to play someone other than ourselves at practice and we came out and played well.”
Tikker led the Warriors with 12 kills and also added eight digs. Fellow junior Lauryn Herrick, a second-team all-FC pick last season, added 10 kills, six digs and four of LCSC’s 10 service aces, while junior middle blocker Nicole Graybeal added four kills, four service aces, and four digs in her first match at LCSC. Deddiy Alaimaleata added seven kills.
Gong led the Warriors with 30 assists and nine digs. As a team, LCSC had 10 service aces and seven solo blocks.
Natalie Wilkening had five kills and seven digs to pace Walla Walla, which also was playing in its season opener.