An untimely finger injury put Bandon in a tough spot heading into its key Sunset Conference volleyball match at Reedsport on Thursday.
With setter Bella Erenfeld on the sidelines because of the injury suffered in practice a day earlier, the Tigers fell to the Brave 25-19, 25-11, 25-16. It was Bandon’s first league loss.
The Tigers bounced back Tuesday to beat host Waldport 20-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-20 and now face a big home match Thursday against league-leading Coquille.
Bandon coach Mariah Vierck praised the play and unselfish nature of Ashley Strain, who shifted into the setter’s role that she is unfamiliar with, while others also switched roles.
“I’m proud of the girls that stepped up when we changed (the lineup),” Vierck said following the match in Reedsport, noting that what hurt the Tigers that night was serving and passing, not the play at the setter spot.
Strain finished with 10 assists in the match. Kenendy Turner had six kills and two blocks and Baylee George had 31 digs.
While losing the match was disappointing, Vierck said given the circumstances, she wanted her team to move on quickly.
“I honestly think that we just don’t overthink this one,” she said, adding that the Tigers needed to look ahead to getting Erenfeld back in the lineup and “put our people in the positions they are comfortable playing and keep our heads held high. We’ve got a lot of season left.”
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Erenfeld wasn’t back for Tuesday’s match with Waldport, but Vierck hopes she can return Thursday against Coquille.
Meanwhile, Strain had a good night at the spot, finishing with 22 assists.
“Ashley has done a great job filling in,” Vierck said.
Traylyn Arana had 10 kills and Turner added eight. Kylie Lakey had 30 digs.
Thursday’s match is a big opportunity for the Tigers (3-1), with Coquille the league’s only unbeaten team and Reedsport and Toledo also having just one loss.
Only the top two teams are guaranteed spots in the Class 2A playoffs, and currently Reedsport (No. 17), Toledo (No. 18) and Bandon (No. 22) are a few spots too low in the rankings to have a shot at an at-large playoff spot.
Bandon is home for both its matches next week, against Myrtle Point on Tuesday and Gold Beach on Thursday, and then heads to Creswell for a chance to get some rankings-boosting wins in the Creswell tournament on Saturday.