Banks split a pair of Cowapa volleyball matches with Seaside and Astoria this past week, thumping the Seagulls in three games on Tuesday but falling in three to a very solid Astoria club on Thursday.

'Astoria played extremely well and we just weren't on our mental game,' said Banks head coach Cherie Vandehey. 'They are definitely the team to beat in the league this year. They are very good.'

Banks (5-1, 4-1) drilled Seaside 25-11, 25-14, 25-22 last Tuesday behind strong net play. Andrea O'Connor had eight kills, while Katie Brower added five and Whitney Blok had three.

Bethany Vandehey and Haley Schmidlin led the defensive effort with the majority of the Lady Braves' digs.

'Quite honestly, it wasn't much of a match,' said Vandehey.

Banks did get a match from Astoria (7-0, 5-0) on Thursday, as the Fishermen dominated the net all night long in a 25-19, 25-19, 25-13 victory that vaulted them into sole possession of first place in the Cowapa standings.

'We pretty much stayed right with them in the first two games,' said Vandehey. 'In Game 3 it just seemed like they got into our heads and we had a hard time recovering from that.

'While we dug a lot of their hits, we had a lot of errors too. They hit the ball all night long. We were definitely on the defensive for most of the match.'

Despite the setback, Banks still sits in second place, just a game behind Astoria after the first round of league play.

'We're doing well,' said Vandehey. 'Now we've seen everybody once and we know with each team what we need to work on in order to be competitive.

'We're still pretty confident in this season. We're looking to impove and I think we'll be right there in the mix at the end of the season.'

Banks had an important match against Tillamook on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time. Next up for the Lady Braves is a home match against Yamhill-Carlton on Thursday.

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