DURANT — Renee Meyer figures any team that plays its first game against an opponent looking to start the season 10-0 should be concerned.
The Durant volleyball coach didn't see that concern in her girls' eyes on Thursday night, though.
The Wildcats rose to the challenge presented by a ranked Wilton squad, squeaking out a trio of close sets to hand the Beavers their first loss of the season in a competitive sweep at Durant High School.
Durant (1-0, 1-0 RVC) won 25-21, 25-23, 25-22 in the first River Valley Conference match of the season for both teams. Class 2A No. 15 Wilton falls to 9-1 overall.
"They showed great composure tonight," Meyer said. "I don't think it looked like our girls hadn't played a match yet."
Durant sophomore Kamryn Meyer led the team with 10 kills, three ace serves and two blocks in addition to nine digs. Cathy Ralfs and Ruby Kappeler added two ace serves in addition to 21 and 16 digs, respectively. Aubrin Dittmer pitched in seven kills for the Wildcats.
The degree of difficulty was raised for Durant as Renee Meyer implemented a new formation on Wednesday with the intent of slowing down Wilton's leading hitter and Western Illinois recruit Aubrey Putman.
Putman still put down nine kills, but an aggressive and tall Durant block made offense difficult for all of Wilton's attackers with five blocks hitting the ground and several others leading to out-of-system Wilton attacks.
"Closing our blocks really helped," Kamryn Meyer said, "so that the back row doesn't have to do as much work."
Neither team was perfect in their system on Thursday, with plenty of service errors, hitting errors and net violations.
Wilton coach Brenda Grunder said her team just made those errors at the wrong time.
In the first set, Wilton broke Durant's set point four times before a service error won it for Durant. In the second set, Wilton rallied back to tie it at 23-all but a service error and net violation put Durant in the drivers' seat.
Finally, Wilton rallied from a seven-point deficit in the third set to trail Durant 23-22, but a hitting error set up Durant's match point.
"I felt because of our experience this season that we would be OK," Grunder said. "We thought we had a lot of things in place to be successful here but when you come in against Durant it's always going to be a competitive, aggressive match. ... Durant did a nice job of keeping us off-balance and we had some unforced errors at some of those big points."
Wilton's Kortney Drake put down three blocks and Amanda Fowler and Emily Lange had two stuffs each, but the Beavers often found themselves playing from behind.
The biggest Wilton lead was 11-7 early in the second set and Durant built a lead as large as 13-4 in the final set, which eventually left Wilton's comeback bids in each of the three sets too little, too late.
"You try to mix up shots around a block," Grunder said, "but when you key on a kid who does a lot of good things for us, it's up to us to figure out better options to try and help her out. ... We need to get more hitters going on offense, and I think we will as the season goes on."
While Durant was the last team in the RVC's South Division to get on the floor, the Wildcats have been preparing for a chance to start their schedule with a bang.
"This feels really good," Kamryn Meyer said. "We've been working so hard in the past week so it feels great."