NASELLE — Ocosta, the only team to beat Naselle in the regular season last year, beat the Comets in five sets Thursday. The Wildcats were headed for a quick victory before the Comets recaptured their comeback magic from last year at State.
The Comets faced match point, trailing 24-18 in the third set after dropping the first two sets 25-21 and 25-12. With Lily Harman serving, the Comets turned the game around. Setter Taylor Gudmundsen emphatically slammed the ball over on second-contact for a kill to cut the lead to 24-20. With the score 24-22, Ocosta put a hard hit in front of Hailey Weston, who saved the game with a diving stop and pass to set up Holly Disch for an overpowering kill. Harman zipped a ball right on the sideline for an ace and a 25-24 lead. On the following play, Disch spiked Ocosta’s return to give the Comets a stunning win of the set.
The Comets have gotten used to rising to the occasion with no margin for error. They made several wildly improbable comebacks during their seventh-in-State playoff run last year.
“That’s just who we are. We’re a comeback team,” Harman said. “We play better under pressure,” Gudmundsen added. “When we were down in the third set, we knew we’ve done it before. We were down 7-14 at State with Lily serving, so it was the same situation.”
Ocosta jumped ahead 9-4 in the fourth set before Holly Disch caught fire for the Comets. Gudmundsen fed her a pair of quick kills from the middle. Then, Disch went back on a ball and slammed it back for an unassisted kill. Disch took a Gudmundsen feed oFn the outside and smashed it down the line to tie it at 10.
Ocosta started making mistakes, and the Comets kept rolling. Sophie Scrabeck saved a point for the Comets, diving for the ball on third contact and sending it over the net cross-court for a point and a 14-10 lead. Darian Jacot made an over-the-shoulder play to save another point. The Comets completed a 14-1 run that put them ahead 18-10, on their way to a 25-14 win in the set.
Ocosta star Kaylee Barnum opened the fifth set with a big kill. The Comets struggled to start the fifth set, missing out of bounds with some hits, and Ocosta took a 7-0 lead. Naselle cut it to 8-6, but the Wildcats closed out a 15-7 win to take the match three sets to two.
Disch led the Comets with 11 kills and had five aces. Weston had five aces and no service errors. Weston and Harman each had five digs.