By Ray Hamill — The defending Big 5 champions are off to an impressive start on the H-DNL volleyball courts this week.
Six teams began a three-week season on Monday, with one match going down to the wire at Fortuna.
It was the Arcata Tigers, however, who have impressed the most in opening week, getting the better of Del Norte and McKinleyville on back-to-back nights.
On Monday, the Tigers defeated the Warriors in a close matchup by the score of 24-26, 25-19, 25-20, 26-24.
Avery Thornburgh finished with a team-high eight kills in the win, while teammate Olivia Railsback added six kills and Lilly Rust-Kelley finished with 18 digs.
The Tigers followed that on Tuesday with a 25-9, 25-17, 25-21 victory over the Panthers, with Abby Costello-Anderson and Ella Day leading the way.
Costello-Anderson finished with eight kills and three aces, while Day had seven kills and two aces.
Eva Weller (six kills) and Lola Renteria (30 assists, two aces) each also had big games.
Also on Monday night, the Eureka Loggers edged out the Huskies in Fortuna in an exciting five-game showdown.
Eureka won 21-25, 25-18, 27-29, 25-17, 15-13.
Sadie Hampton led the Loggers in serving, while Saige Grundman and Libby Johnston were the standout servers for Fortuna.
The Huskies responded the following night with a 25-17, 30-28, 25-7 victory over St. Bernard’s.
Johnston, Kylie Fennell and Renee Metz each had a big night serving for the Huskies.
Seniors Grundman, Metz and Kendall Stewart are all expected to lead the way on a talented Huskies team this spring.
“They actually look really good,” new Fortuna head coach Rob Hayes said of this year’s team. “They’re playing at a pretty high level. Most of our kids, especially the freshmen and sophomores, are all multi-year club players.”
In JV action, on Monday Fortuna defeated Eureka 25-9, 19-25, 15-11.
Led by Sarah Keating and Mariah Smith, the Huskies followed that on Tuesday with a 25-7, 25-18 win over St. Bernard’s.