The Williston-Elko High volleyball team wasn't able to put together a complete winning formula in its season opener Thursday in the Devils' Den.
Despite a hot start, the Lady Blue Devils faltered down the stretch, losing to the Allendale-Fairfax High Lady Tigers in a four-set match.
The Lady Blue Devils came out popping like kernels of corn in a microwave in the opening set, hitting over .764 as a team in a 25-22 win.
After that point, the Lady Blue Devils' game went stale. The Lady Tigers clawed back, taking the next three frames by scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 25-22 to close out the match.
Williston-Elko High coach Eva Strong said there were bright spots in the loss.
"We just made careless mistakes. Those are things we can easily correct," Strong said.
"We are a young team, but we have really good potential. We played well in all the matches, but weren't able to execute late in the games. Those kind of things come with experience."
For the Lady Blue Devils, Alyssa Smith, Brooke Weatherford and Mikki Raska had strong performances. Smith led the team with 23 serving points, including six aces and four digs.
Raska, who had four blocks in game one, finished with 10 serving points, four aces and six assists. Weatherford paced the team with 14 assists. She also added 12 serving points, six digs and two blocks.
A host of others played well. Ciera Smith had seven digs, six serving points and five assists. Mya Fagans added 10 assists and 13 points. Marrissa Garrett had a good, all-round outing with 10 points, six digs, seven assists and three blocks.
The Lady Tigers' blueprint for victory was teamwork as five players finished the game with double digits in scoring.
"We came here a little short-handed because the seniors had to go to a workshop," Allendale-Fairfax High coach LaVal Anderson said.
"Great job by everyone to pull out this kind of victory against a good Wiliston-Elko team. This win just shows what kind of depth we have on the team."
Leading the way for the Lady Tigers was Janay Owens, who guided the offense with 27 points, 10 digs and 11 assists.
There are several others standouts in the match. Jasmine White, who had a team leading 19 assists. White's totals included 14 points and eight digs. Chiante Williams tallied 15 points, six kills, six blocks and four assists. Chionna Creech had 11 serving points, five kills, four digs and two aces. Jakiya Williams and Michaela Carter each had nine serving points.
"This is a very good start to the season. I was really pleased with how the younger players stepped up. They got a little frustrated in the first set, but they bounced back and played with a lot of poise," Anderson said.
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