WINCHESTER — This isn’t what the Riverhawks had in mind — two losses on their home court to open the Northwest Athletic Conference Southern Region volleyball season.
Umpqua Community College wasn’t on top of its game Saturday in a 25-17, 25-18, 25-23 loss to Mt. Hood of Gresham. The Riverhawks (7-12, 0-2 South) fell to Clark of Vancouver, Washington, Friday night in straight sets.
Madison Pernich led the Saints (12-6, 2-0) Saturday with 12 kills. Elisha Levasa had 31 assists, Ashlyn Huntington chipped in eight kills and 11 digs, and Grace Buchanan contributed seven kills.
“I think we’re all disappointed, yes. We could’ve done better,” admitted UCC freshman setter Madison Becker, who finished with 22 assists and 11 digs. “We still came out a little slow, we needed to pick it up faster. It wasn’t the same team that we’ve been in practice.
“Our physical ability has been great, but we need to work on our mentality of the game. Everyone just needs be more positive, more excited about everything.”
Freshman middle blocker Dominique Wenzler-Steves had a solid match for the Riverhawks, getting 10 kills and four blocks.
“We had a rough start today,” she said. “I think we cleaned it up by the end. We had more offense to swing, but just weren’t taking it. We’re disappointed in ourselves, but we’re excited to keep playing and want to improve.”
Kyrie Keffer made 13 digs for UCC. South Umpqua High product Emma Lind had seven kills, Margaret Anderson had three blocks and Roseburg graduate Felicia Sparks chipped in seven digs.
Umpqua served 86 percent as a team, well below its expectations.
The Riverhawks looked in good position to take the match to at least a fourth set. Wenzler-Steves delivered back-to-back kills and an unforced error by the Saints helped UCC take a 23-22 advantage in the third game. But Mt. Hood scored the next three points to finish off the hosts.
So the Riverhawks have some ground to make up after the opening weekend of league.
“Our potential ... we really didn’t show it on our home court,” surmised UCC coach Lacy Pinard. “I don’t know if it was the first home weekend jitters, or the pressure we got under with our young team. But we definitely need to step up our game, mostly on offense. Our offense wasn’t putting away balls.”
UCC will resume league play next weekend at home, meeting Chemeketa (7-4, 1-1) on Friday and Clackamas (7-11, 0-2) Saturday.
“Our game right now has been mental,” Pinard said. “We have the talent, but mentally we’re young and a little green on the court. We need to work on getting the mind to fight, battle out plays and finish. Our communication could obviously be better. Lots of mental things we need to work on.”