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Volleyball

COQUILLE — The Coquille volleyball team made its debut in the Class 2A Sunset Conference a winning one with a dominant victory over visiting Reedsport on Thursday, topping the Brave 25-9, 25-13, 25-6.

The Red Devils did virtually everything well against the young Brave, from serving to offense to defense.

“I was very pleased with how everybody played,” Coquille coach Suzanne Grami said.

She used three different rotations for her squad, and all were successful in the win as she mixed her strong group of seniors with talented younger players.

“I’ve been really pleased with the younger girls stepping up,” Grami said.

The first set was over quickly, with Coquille scoring in a variety of ways. The Red Devils had six of their 21 aces in the opening set and Morgan Miller had four kills and Gracie Sinclair and Abbey Dieu two each. Sinclair also had two stuff blocks in the set.

The trend continued in the second set, with Halle Layton knocking down two kills and two stuff blocks and Morgan Baird adding two kills. Jami Goin had a pair of aces and twins Spencer and Saige Gallino each added an ace.

Reedsport coach James Hixenbaugh credited the Red Devils for their strong match, and said his own team came out flat from the start.

It didn’t get any better in the third set. Baird and Sinclair had four aces each as Reedsport players either struggled to handle the tough serves or Coquille dropped the ball in open spots in the defense. Eight different Coquille players had at least one ace in the match.

“Serving is one of our strengths,” Grami said.

And with Reedsport struggling to get into its offense to pressure the Red Devils, Coquille was able to set up attacks of its own.

For the match, Dieu had five kills, Miller and Sinclair four each and Layton three. Goin, Coquille’s libero, had five aces to go with six digs. Baird had three kills to go with her four aces. Kaylee Green, Coquille’s setter in the first rotation, finished with 11 assists and a pair of aces.

Riley Wright had a solid match for the Brave with five kills and two stuff blocks and Cheyenne McCart had eight digs and two aces.

Hixenbaugh said his team is making progress, hampered through the preseason by not having its own gym to practice in.

“In practice, when we compete against each other, it’s really scrappy,” he said. “It’s fun to watch.”

But that didn’t translate into the match Thursday.

“We have quite a few younger girls,” Hixenbaugh said. “It shows.”

Coquille, meanwhile, has seven seniors who all played a lot on the team that placed third at the Class 3A state tournament last fall, not to mention Baird (a junior) and Ellie Ekelund (a sophomore).

The Red Devils also beat Glide on Thursday night after the league match and after Glide topped Reedsport.

Coquille fought past the Wildcats 25-22, 25-18, 25-19.

Dieu had 12 kills and just one hitting error in the latter match. Green had 15 assists, 13 digs and three aces. Sinclair had six kills, five aces and 13 digs. Brooklyn Duble was strong in the back row with 13 digs and Goin was great in serve receive and had four aces and four assists. Drew Wilson had 10 digs and four assists.

Layton had five assists, three kills and three stuff blocks. Baird and Miller each had four kills and Miller also had several outstanding digs on big hits by the Wildcats, Grami said.

Coquille is in Reedsport on Saturday for the annual Les Schwab Tournament, which should be valuable for both the Red Devils and the Brave.

The event includes Weston-McEwen, which was ranked first early in the year in the power rankings, and Grant Union, another traditional Class 2A power.

Reedsport opens against Lost River at 10 a.m. Coquille’s quarterfinal match is against St. Mary’s after the first two matches (one in the main gym and one in the auxiliary gym).

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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