Dayton — Tournament season is back in volleyball, but so are the teams opting to host their own meets of games. On Saturday, the Dayton Pirates hosted Yamhill-Carlton, Warrenton, and Vernonia in a four-way meet, with each team playing three times in regular matches, resulting in a lot of action to watch, observe, and ultimately discuss. Here is the final report from the Dayton four-way meet on Saturday, with talking points on each team in the meet:
Warrenton had their moments of brilliance, yet just as many moments of confusion on Saturday. When their communication was on point, it was hard to slow them down and mess with the chemistry, but if it broke down then the wheels became stuck in the mud. More or less, it looks like they are a “hot and cold” team, meaning that consistency is something that they could use more of.
I think they are sound in their fundamentals and tactical but deal with mental hurdles that get to them and are infectious. This also tends to be when communication shuts off and frustration builds, making it even harder to get through the wall. If they can build a stronger mentality when things are challenging, then the Warriors could certainly prosper to new heights this season.
To most people, they would question why I would even want to watch an 0-9 team. To that I would respond: Everyone deserves coverage, and everyone deserves a chance to not be judged solely on their record. I came away with a viewpoint that the Loggers program will appreciate: You aren’t as bad as your record. To be clear, I’m not declaring them playoff contenders or state contenders.
However, I simply cannot tear into a program that is retooling and finding their identity and declare them as a dumpster fire, that wouldn’t be fair to the program and the athletes on the floor. Their heart on the floor is clear and it’s very obvious that they are trying, it isn’t like they’re laying down and letting people run over them. My word to Vernonia is simple: Keep working hard, keep standing up to teams, and keep trying to find an identity that works for your team. Once you do those things, the wins will come sooner than later.
I don’t know what happened when Warrenton swept YC earlier this week, but the Tigers looked like a complete turnaround on Saturday. Yamhill-Carlton looked like the total package, executing well in most aspects of things and keeping up their momentum for most of the day. In terms of what I could see, the Tigers were the best team in Dayton and looked like a complete team.
There is one thing keeping the Tigers from being declared a 3A state contender: Lack of size. They are a short roster, and it makes things hard for them at the net, but they make up for it with their execution and middle/back row defense. Ultimately, they can do anything they put their minds to, and they’ll be in the playoffs. How far they go is up to them….
Where do I start with the Pirates? Well, this program is something else entirely. They have passion, chemistry, toughness, and hustle. They have good defense….but their offensive struggles are their Achillies heel. This Achillies heel is the thing that keeps Dayton from being considered among the playoff contenders in 3A, especially in their loaded conference. I legitimately love everything about this team, but the recurring thing that made me think was their offensive struggle.
They are struggling with location on hits and serving is also an issue, two major problems that ultimately impacted them against Yamhill-Carlton the most. They won the opening set by capturing momentum and taking advantage of mistakes from YC, but never got going again once the struggles set in for them offensively. Their defense is good, chemistry solid, and scrappiness is a bonus, but the offensive issues will haunt them until they solve them.