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North Bend Volleyball Vs. Eagle Point

North Bend's Isabelle Peck bumps a serve into play Tuesday during a match against Eagle Point at North Bend High School.

NORTH BEND — What North Bend’s volleyball team wouldn’t do for a win about now.

The Bulldogs suffered their second five-set loss in less than a week Tuesday when visiting Eagle Point pulled out a 25-20, 21-25, 20-25, 25-9, 15-9 win in a Midwestern League match.

North Bend fell to 0-4 in league play with their next three matches on the road while the Eagles earned their first league win.

Just as in their loss at Springfield last week, a heartbreaking setback with a 15-13 last set, the Bulldogs did a lot of good things, just not consistently enough or at critical times.

But Hayden Markel, one of just two seniors on the squad, remained upbeat.

“I think the skills are all there,” she said. “I know we can do better.”

Tuesday’s match was filled with ups and downs. The Bulldogs started the night on an 11-1 run, but couldn’t hold on to the lead as Eagle Point rallied behind tough serving and miscues by the Bulldogs, eventually taking the first set with an ace by Kolby Everett.

North Bend bounced back to take the second set on a stuff block by Abbie Kirby. And the Bulldogs pulled away late to win the third set on back-to-back kills by Randee Cunningham and Markel. Olivia Knutson had three aces in the third set (and seven for the match).

But all North Bend had done well in its two set wins, went away in the fourth. Markel had an ace to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead, but North Bend never scored a point on its own serve again until after Eagle Point had built a 9-4 lead in the final set.

That’s when North Bend had back-to-back kills by Markel and Eagle Point had a couple of hitting errors as the Bulldogs closed within 9-8. But Eagle Point put the match away by scoring seven of the last eight points, including a pair of aces on hard jump serves by setter Kierssa Hogan that essentially ended North Bend’s hopes.

Markel had a strong night with 11 kills and 21 digs while setter Brooklyn Lyon, the only other senior, had 26 assists. Knutson had seven aces and 12 digs. Kaitlyn Randle and libero Isabelle Peck combined for 35 digs. Chelsea Howard and Randee Cunningham combined for 10 kills.

Allison Scheffler had 12 kills, 13 digs and four aces for Eagle Point.

North Bend coach Jessica Randle said she was pleased with her team’s effort most of the night both in serving and serve receive.

“We have a lot of talented (players),” she said.

The Bulldogs continued to suffer, though, from a lack of varsity experience.

“I think part of it is we’re still trying to get over the shock of going to a new league and part of it is we are so young,” Markel said, explaining that the new varsity players are getting used to the higher-level of the game and playing together as a team.

“That’s what’s taking a while,” she said.

Randle hope that ends soon.

“I don’t want that to be an acceptable excuse,” she said. “We need to keep playing our game.”

That comes from preparation, including a better intensity in practice, Markel said.

“We need to start practicing like we can play,” she said.

North Bend’s next chance at a win comes Thursday at Churchill and the Bulldogs face Ashland and Thurston on the road next week before returning home to play Crater on Sept. 18.

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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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