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Dufur netters split first two matches in Athena

No. 13-ranked Rangers slip past Imbler in five match sets

Dufur senior Sydnee Byers squares up a return volley in a varsity match played last season in Dufur. Last Thursday in Athena, Byers and the Rangers salvaged a two-match split with the lone victory coming in five sets versus Imbler.

Photo by Ray Rodriguez
Dufur senior Sydnee Byers squares up a return volley in a varsity match played last season in Dufur. Last Thursday in Athena, Byers and the Rangers salvaged a two-match split with the lone victory coming in five sets versus Imbler.



In their first two volleyball matches, the Dufur Rangers salvaged a split, winning a five-set thriller over Imbler Tuesday in Athena.

Following a sweep loss against Weston-McEwen, Dufur battled it out versus Imbler with each team swapping wins in the first four sets.

The Panthers scored a 25-20 opening-set victory and the Rangers answered with a 25-14 win to even the match at 1-apiece.

Imbler won the third set, 25-13, but Dufur sent the game into a fifth set after a 25-21 fourth-set triumph, as Zoe Hester went off for four kills and an ace and both Sydnee Byers and Kalie Ellis reeled off three kills each.

In the finale, Mikayla Kelly and Kayla Bailey slammed down two kills each, Hester added a kill and an ace, and the duo of Byers and Ellis went for a kill, to lead the Rangers to a 15-12 triumph.

Dufur head coach Kristin Whitley was happy with how her group bounced back.

“The girls evaluated their game against Weston-McEwen and were able to make some improvements when we played Imbler,” Whitley said. “It was nice to see the communication speed improve; we tried to stay half a step ahead of the game on defense, and commentate the game. This really helped our defensive and offensive transitions.”

All told, Byers paced Dufur with 13 kills and three aces, Kelly chipped in 11 kills and two blocks, and Hester added five kills and five aces.

Ellis dropped seven kills and a block, Trinity Blake tallied four kills and two aces, and Bailey had an all-around match with two kills, two aces and two blocks.

Earlier in the day, Weston-McEwen scored its sweep by scores of 25-22, 25-18 and 25-16, as Dufur committed 15 kill errors, seven missed serves and 25 passing miscues.

Byers posted four kills, Maddie Smith had two kills and Kelly tacked on two kills and a block.

Hester ended up with a kill and an ace, Blake posted an ace and a block and Emily Crawford served an ace.

“We played three tough sets against Weston-McEwen to start off our season,” Whitley said. “Although we lost in three, they were not blowout losses, which was really encouraging. Overall, we need to work on cleaning up our serving average, and transitioning/communication on defense.”

The Lady Rangers (1-1 overall) wrapped up the Dufur Classic Tournament over the weekend, and next hosts Condon-Wheeler at 5 p.m. Tuesday for their league opener.

On Thursday, Dufur plays against league opponent Mitchell-Spray in Spray at 5 p.m.



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