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Injuries, illness plague Lady Pirates

BICKLETON - Despite having only eight girls out for this year's volleyball team, and fighting injuries and illness, the Bickleton Lady Pirates continue to show improvement each match out.

Last week, Bickleton dropped a pair of three-game matches to Klickitat's varsity and Goldendale's 'C' squad. The defeats lowered the Lady Pirates' overall record on the season to 0-8, yet the Bickleton players aren't showing signs of surrendering.

"Our game is improving," said Bickleton Coach Tom Whitmore. "We are passing better and our serving has really improved."

One example of the improvement in serving was illustrated by senior Doni Franklin in the match against Goldendale. Franklin successfully put all 12 of her serves in the match into play. For the night, Bickleton was 88 percent from the service line.

Whitmore also noted the strong play of Kirstin Slater and Ilsa Chapple at the net against Goldendale.

"We have seen a tremendous change in the girls since our first match," said Whitmore.

"We are still struggling with injuries and illness. With only eight girls out for the team, that really takes a toll on us," he said. "It really hurts us not having the option to play girls in their best skilled area.

"For example, our best hitter may have to set the ball, which of course hurts our hitting. We may have a girl that is struggling that night with her serve and we have no one that can go in and give her a chance to regroup.

"The girls do a good job of trying to fill all the gaps, but sometimes it is just beyond our capabilities simply because of numbers.

"We are having a good season and are hoping that the next three weeks will see us put the whole game together," Whitmore added.

Bickleton is scheduled to host Sunnyside Christian this Tuesday, and on Thursday will entertain the Sunnyside High School 'C' squad.

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