Del Norte

H-DNL teams get set to open league play this week

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Action from the Hoopa and Eureka game at Jay Willard Gymnasium on Tuesday night. The Loggers won in straight sets.

By Ray Hamill — Eight H-DNL volleyball teams will begin league play on Thursday night.

And what a start it should be in the Big 5 with the past two champions facing off in a key showdown on opening night.

The Del Norte Warriors are the defending B5 champs after a dominating run through league last year.

The Crescent City school dropped just four sets on the way to an 8-0 record in league, including home and away wins over the Tigers.

And with nine returning players this fall, including league MVP McKenna Curtis, the Warriors will be favorites to retain their title heading into league play.

The one team perhaps best equipped to derail those plans are the Arcata Tigers, who have built a league powerhouse program under the guidance of head coach Laurie Griffith.

The Tigers were 5-3 in league last season, but they are off to a 9-3 start this year as they get set to begin their league challenge.

The Warriors also have impressed early in the season and are 7-1 heading into Thursday’s big showdown.

The varsity match begins at 6:30 p.m. after the JVs face off.

And they won’t be the only teams playing on opening night.

The Eureka Loggers could also be in the mix for a league title this year and won’t back down from the challenge.

The Loggers open against McKinleyville at the new Jay Willard Gymnasium, also at 6:30 p.m.

The Fortuna Huskies will have an opening night bye.

The Loggers open league at home to McKinleyville on Thursday.

Some of the Hoopa players look on during Tuesday’s match.

Defending Little 5 champion St. Bernard’s, meanwhile, will begin the defense of its title at home to Ferndale.

The Crusaders finished 8-0 in league play last year and were arguably even more impressive than the Del Norte girls while dropping just one set in league matches against Ferndale, Hoopa, South Fork and Northcoast Prep.

And rounding out a busy opening night for the H-DNL teams, South Fork travels to Hoopa to play the Warriors.

Both of Thursday’s Little 5 games also are set for 6:30 p.m.

Northcoast Prep will also compete in this year’s Little 5 after going 1-7 in league play a year ago, with the Herons’ lone win coming against South Fork.


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