North Bend — In the nightcap of an EOG coverage doubleheader, the Douglas Trojans came over from Winston to face the North Bend Bulldogs on the Oregon Coast Tuesday night. The host Bulldogs entered the contest with a 2-1 record this season, having swept Newport on Thursday, while the visiting Trojans came in seeking their first win of the season after falling to South Umpqua last Tuesday in four sets.
The host Bulldogs got off to a fast start in the opening set, as the Trojans dug themselves an early hole on unforced errors, finding themselves down 13-6 in the first set. The Bulldogs had no issues winning the opening set, which wasn’t particularly pretty on either side, but North Bend took it comfortably with a 25-16 set win. More issues from the Trojans gave the Bulldogs a quick 6-0 lead in the second set, but North Bend’s sloppiness opened the door for Douglas to tie it up at 7-all in the set. The rest of the second set was defined by streaky, error-filled play on both ends: Douglas took a 12-10 lead, North Bend takes it back 14-12, Douglas fights back to lead it 17-14. Once they got it again, the Trojans never handed it back, as they closed out the Bulldogs with a 25-20 second set victory.
In the critical third set, the Trojans rode momentum from the previous set to take an early 5-1 lead, but the Bulldogs stormed back to close the gap down to 7-6. Douglas handed the lead away midway through, as North Bend took the lead 14-13, clinging on to their advantage to the 20-18 mark of the set. After calling a timeout trailing 23-22, Douglas notched three straight points to steal the third set from North Bend 25-23 and take the match lead 2-1. In the fourth set, Douglas took the lead and never relinquished it, holding several significant leads at 7-2, 17-11, and 22-15, ultimately winning the match with a final set victory 24-18 and winning their first game of the season.
Dissecting The Team – North Bend
I believe that North Bend is much better than they showed on Tuesday night, but it seemed that the mental game ultimately got them once they were out of the groove. When they were in a setup offense, they were more efficient and performed better, but struggled with adjusting on the fly from the scrappy Douglas squad, who were throwing them many different situations to adjust to. Credit is due to their setting though, it was pretty on point and clean overall. Once the Bulldogs clean up the mistakes and work on the mental game, North Bend will be just fine.
Out of everyone I observed in the match, I noted Lily Aldrich and Maddie West as my most notable players for North Bend. Lily is a nice two-way threat for the Bulldogs, presenting size and placement to cause problems defensively, and she has hitting potential on the offensive front. It seemed that Maddie was the most accurate of all the hitters on Tuesday, even if she may not have had the most mustard behind it. In a match where kills are flying into the football stadium, accuracy is much welcome and noticed.
Dissecting The Team – Douglas
Despite the fact that they won the match, the Trojans aren’t spared from the mess that they were in the game. They honestly couldn’t land a chain of kills to save their lives, and the communication wasn’t there at times. What ultimately saved them was their hustle and scrappiness on the floor, which completely threw North Bend for a loop and became the Trojans biggest strength. Much work is to be done on hitting, receiving serves, and unforced errors, but props to their hustle, scrappiness, and creativity to ultimately pull out the win, that’ll get them far as a team and build their confidence.
A couple Douglas players frequently made my notes: Lilee Winters and Cori Boyd. Starting with the libero, I praise Lilee’s defensive hustle and work on the floor for the Trojans, as she was flying across the floor and giving it 110% on each play with opportunity. Cori could have a big senior year for Douglas, she certainly has the size, IQ, and drive to become one, both in terms of defensive disruptor and offensive threat.
Douglas (1-1) hosts their own tournament on Saturday, North Bend (2-2) face Coquille at Marshfield High School on Thursday.