SOUTH BEND — According to Naselle volleyball coach Bekah Wirkkala, her team “definitely plays with grit.”
“Their motto this great is ‘grind together, shine together,’” the coach said after the Comets 1-3 loss at longtime rival South Bend last Thursday night. “Definitely fitting for this group. We work them hard at practices, they are buying into that concept and it has been showing during these tougher matches. The girls have been conditioned to last during these long weeks or long matches.”
Despite the outcome, the Comets (2-2, 0-0) played impressively, winning the first set 26-24, before falling 20-25, 25-27 and 15-25.
The Comets got out to a fast start in the first set, going up 4-0. But the two teams played a number of epic rallies, leading to a 24-24 tie until Kenzie Glenn served the Comets to a first set win. But as the match progressed, it was clear that South Bend, a 2B team, was going to be a real test.
“South Bend was great competition for us,” Wirkkala said. “Both teams got better from playing each other. They are a tough team to play at home due to their amazing, supporting cheering section.”
The Comets were playing their third match in a week, with a tournament in Adna to follow on Saturday, and Wirkkala said that may have been a factor.
“Even though the girls are in great shape, fatigue does start to set in on weeks like this,” the coach said, adding, “What better way to prepare them for league, districts and state then having them feel how much they can overcome in moments when their bodies want to give up.”
Lily Harman led the Comets with four service aces and 11 digs on defense. Holly Disch had 10 kills and two aces. Sophie Scrabeck added three aces, six kills and seven digs.
“Holly Disch played her best match of her high school career,” Wirkkala said. “Her net play was amazing and her power was evident.”
Wirkkala also noted that South Bend will likely be one of the toughest defenses they’ll play during the regular season.
“Their defense picked up balls that the majority of the 1B teams we will face this season won’t,” she said. “So (Disch) getting double digit kills and (Harman) having double digit digs is a huge testimony to their true ability to shine even against strong teams.”
The Comets will host Kappa on Thursday, before competing in Saturday’s tournament in Raymond.
Naselle 26 20 25 15
S Bend 24 25 27 25
NHS wins at home
NASELLE — Sophie Scrabeck had six kills and Lily Harman closed out the contest with three straight aces, as the Comets beat Pe Ell 25-17, 25-18 and 25-20 on Monday, Sept. 11.
Scrabeck turned around some tough points for the Comets. In the opening set, she went back on the ball and lobbed it over her head to the Trojans’ back row, where it landed for a kill. Several plays later, she had a spike to cap a 12-2 run for a 22-12 Comet lead. In the second set, the Trojans had Naselle thrown back on defense, but Scrabeck got to the ball on third contact and bumped it over into open space for a kill. With only one error, Scrabeck had a .500 hitting percentage in her breakout game.
Kenzie Glenn added five kills on just eight attempts for the Comets, making no errors. When the Comets were falling apart in the third set, having allowed Pe Ell five straight points to tie it at 15, setter Taylor Gudmundsen went to Glenn, who smashed it off the top of the net and over for the clutch point. Shortly afterward, Harman made a diving stop and passed to Gudmundsen, who set up Scrabeck for another kill and a two-point lead.
With the Comets leading the third set 22-20, Harman closed it out with her sixth, seventh and eighth aces of the game.