The South Whidbey volleyball team headed to Meridian High School for a season-opening tournament Saturday.
They managed to get eighth place out of 12 teams present, but that wasn’t the point.
“We’re a young team that needs to keep improving and a tournament like this is the way to do it,” Falcons Coach Tim Durbin said.
Senior Amanda Spalding agreed.
“I thought it went OK for the first game but it’s clear we have a lot to work on,” she said.
“It really is the best way to try new things and see what works,” she added.
Beginning at 8 a.m., the tourney had each team play six matches of two games each — a normal match has three games. The Falcons won over Squalicum 25-21 and 25-23 but lost to Lynnwood, Sehome and Meridian.
In the consolation bracket, the girls beat Concrete 25-7 and 25-11, then lost to the revenge-seeking Squalicum Storm 25-7 and 25-23.
The action gave Coach Durbin a chance to evaluate his court rotation of the six girls to determine best placement when the regular season begins.
“We were able to see different lineups and players in multiple positions,” Durbin said. “Also we could see how our five non-varsity returners do against varsity competition. We have to work on our passing, proper position and quickness to the ball.”
Returning junior Nichole Zalewski felt she had an off day.
“Yeah, I played horrible,” she recalled. “We didn’t do as well as we would have liked, but it was a great learning experience for all of us and there was a lot of bonding.”
Spalding had a few jitters as well.
“I started out rough but then I got better as the day, the long day, went on,” Spalding said. “Passing improved, too, but we have a ways to go.”
The coach said the girl’s consistency will improve over time, especially as the season begins to swing into high gear with the Sultan Turk’s arrival Thursday.
“It was a good first tournament,” Durbin said.
Allison Wood had 18 kills, Kelsie Dorpat 23 assists and Marijane Daumen nine kills, Lindsey Newman and Melanie Murphy six kills each and Cayla Calderwood five kills and four blocks.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday the girls welcome the Sultan Turks to Erickson Gym.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.