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Lady Pirates notch first season victory

BICKLETON - With half of the Bickleton High School volleyball team made up of eighth graders, it's been tough sledding for the Lady Pirates this season-in terms of wins and losses.

So tough, that Bickleton opened the season with nine consecutive losses. Last night, however, the Lady Pirates got off the snide, notching their first victory of the season.

Thursday evening's 3-0 win over the Sunnyside High School 'C' squad also avenges a 2-1 loss to the same Lady Grizzly squad sustained back on Sept. 15.

Bickleton won last night's three-set match by scores of 25-15, 25-22, 25-21.

"Yeah, our girls were excited," confirmed Bickleton Coach Tom Whitmore early this morning of his club's response to posting its first win of the season.

Whitmore said, in all honesty, that the Sunnyside 'C' team probably didn't turn in its best performance of the season. But, he quickly added, his Lady Pirates worked extremely hard in defending their home court.

Most notable on the part of the Bickleton players was their passing last night.

"We showed great improvement with the passing part of our game last night," he said. "There weren't balls flying out-of-bounds or up into the rafters. The balls were going to where they were passed to."

Whitmore credits the improvement of his eighth graders as one of the reasons Bickleton is finally finding success.

"Our eighth graders are really coming along," he said. "That's half our team."

The Lady Pirates also got some excellent serving performances from seniors Kirstin Slater and Doni Franklin. Each of the two girls went 16-for-16 from the service line.

As a team, said Whitmore, his club put 85 percent of its serves into play last night.

Slater and sophomore Ilsa Chapple were the standouts at the net for Bickleton. Although individual kills and blocks aren't officially recorded by the team, Whitmore said the two Lady Pirates dominated play at the net.

Whitmore said he is going to continue to drill into his team the philosophy that "...we have to play our best volleyball each match out, and what happens, happens."

The Lady Pirates (0-5, 1-9) have a busy schedule next week. Monday they play at Mabton, Tuesday at Trout Lake, Thursday at home against Lyle and Friday at West Valley against the Rams' freshman squad.

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