Rice Lake will look to bounce back from a sluggish home volleyball opener when the Warriors play at Eau Claire North this Thursday night. The Warriors lost their conference opener to visiting River Falls last Thursday in straight games, 25-19, 25-8 and 25-14. Starting time this Thursday at North is 7 p.m. On Saturday, the Warriors play in the Merrill Invitational, starting at 9 a.m. River Falls jumped to leads in all three games Thursday, including 5-0 in the opener before Rice Lake came back for 5-5 and 7-7 ties. But the Wildcats never trailed and opened up their lead in the late going of the six-point win to start the three-game sweep. "We struggled both on offense and defense due to our passing. Without a pass in volleyball, your offense and defense are crippled," said Warriors coach Charlene Gilbertson. The Warriors settled for 16 kills in the match, led by the six of Jessica Buchman and four of Josie Buckley, both seniors. Senior Rachel Goettl and junior Alex VanGilder led the digging with 12 and nine digs, respectively. VanGilder had all three of the team's service aces. The Rice Lake junior varsity fared better, with both teams taking two of three games from the Wildcats. In other Big Rivers volleyball openers Thursday, Chippewa Falls downed Eau Claire Memorial three games to one (20-25, 25-15, 25-19, 28-26), and Eau Claire North swept Menomonie, three games to none (25-19, 25-18, 25-21). Hudson had the bye on the first night of conference play. Rice Lake's next home match is Thursday, Sept. 19 against Hudson.