Columbia High’s volleyball team swept winless Riverside Sept. 3, but the level of competition increases the next seven days when the Bruins traverse the west end of the Gorge to face Hood River Valley and Corbett.

The Bruin netters won their first match at Riverside in Boardman under new/second-time-around head Coach Heidi Shultz, 25-12, 25-10, 25-18. Shultz said Riverside (0-5) didn’t put as much pressure on the Bruin defense as she expects to see Tuesday when Hood River visits Columbia High for a 6:30 p.m. match.

“We will need to focus more on blocking and defense,” she said, referring to HRV’s lineup, which is much taller than the Bruins’. “And, we will need to continue to serve really well.”

Serving was a highlight for the Bruins against Riverside, as seniors Chanele Reyes and Chloe Clifford were near perfect from the service line. “Chloe was something like 20 for 20 with four or five aces, and Chanele was nearly as perfect,” Shultz said.

Senior Hannah Polkinghorn led the Bruins with eight kills.

“It was a good start for an opener,” Shultz said. “I think they (the Bruins) found a little bit of confidence.”

That said, “the level of volleyball is going up a lot,” over the next few matches, Shultz added. Riverside’s varsity roster includes one senior and three freshmen. Whereas the Pirates were at the stage of their season content with simply passing the ball over the next, Shultz said HRV will be more sophisticated offensively and will return the ball with much more pace.

Hood River Valley opened its season with a four-set, non-league loss at Gladstone (see separate story this issue). Corbett is the defending Oregon Class 4A District 2 league champion under Coach Angela Davis, in her seventh season.

Columbia returns home for another non-league match Sept. 16 against neighboring Stevenson High.