WINCHESTER — Nearly a month into the season, the Umpqua Community College volleyball team played its first home match on Wednesday night.
It didn’t go to the Riverhawks’ liking.
Clark College of Vancouver, Washington, won a tight opening game and UCC was unable to recover, falling in straight sets in a Northwest Athletic Conference South Region match before a boisterous crowd.
Scores were 26-24, 25-19, 25-17.
The Riverhawks (11-7, 2-2 South) didn’t bring their ‘A’ game and paid for it as the Penguins (8-6, 2-1) left the UCC gym with an unexpected sweep.
“Tonight we were a little off,” said Umpqua sophomore middle blocker Jenna Whitmore, a former South Umpqua High School standout. “Sometimes we get a little too excited and need to settle down, focus and get things done. We made too many errors ... we were thinking about too many things at one time and didn’t hone in on what we needed to do.”
“I think it might be first home match nerves. I know I had some nerves,” added UCC sophomore outside hitter Sierra Paroz, a Roseburg High School product. “Overall we made some silly errors. We let the other team make a lot of points on our errors and we could’ve fought harder.”
Paroz led the Riverhawks with 10 kills and made 13 digs.
Ally Winkler finished with eight kills, Trinity Kampstra chipped in five kills and Whitmore contributed four kills and eight digs for UCC. Jocelyn Chavez had 11 assists, seven digs and four kills, Eve Elmore made 22 digs, Jules Asa had 10 assists and Roseburg graduate Alisha Sabins made 10 digs.
Umpqua finished with a kill percentage of .139.
“They were excited to be at home finally after a really long preseason on the road,” Umpqua first-year coach CJ Roberts said. “I think they got a little excited. I don’t think we were necessarily outplayed tonight, but we played ourselves into errors and lost and just made too many of them when it came down to it.”
Next up for the Riverhawks is a home match Friday with top-ranked Linn-Benton of Albany, the defending NWAC champion. The Roadrunners (16-1, 3-0) defeated Mt. Hood 25-15, 25-14, 25-13 Wednesday.
“We can’t focus a whole lot on this match (tonight),” Roberts said. “We’ve got to take what we can and learn from it for Friday against Linn-Benton. All we can do is make sure that we’re focusing on playing the team on the other side of the court and not ourselves.
“Hopefully we’ll calm down a little bit and play together. I think we can give Linn-Benton a match.”
Shalyn Gray, the former South Umpqua great, is among the talents on the Roadrunners’ roster.
“We need to come into that game with confidence,” Whitmore said. “Make sure we focus and are on the same page with our game plan.”