NASELLE — In an intense game of long rallies and difficult saves, the Comets took the final two sets to pull off a 25-22, 16-25, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9 win over Three Rivers Christian Tuesday, Oct. 10. Lily Harman, Sophie Scrabeck and Hailey Weston all reached double figures in digs, with the Comets needing 66 digs as a team to turn back a tough challenge from the Eagles.
In the opening set, after Three Rivers came back from down 10-5 to tie it at 10, Weston had back to back kills, one on a tip over the net and one to the back corner that the Eagles were a beat slow to react to. With the Comets leading 24-22, Lily Harman forced a free ball with a high-velocity serve, and Weston slammed the return down the sideline to finish the critical opening-set win.
“Hailey’s been working through her shoulder injury, and now she’s getting her strength back,” coach Rebekah Wirkkala said. “She was our go-to hitter, along with Holly [Disch].”
The (Eagles) pulled away in the second set, then jumped in front 8-1 in the third. The Eagles were seizing initiative with tough serves that had the Comets struggling a bit to make decisions and communicate quickly.
Taylor Gudmundson served the Comets back into it, tying the game at eight with a streak of six straight points. Gudmundson combined velocity and accuracy, finishing with 11 aces and getting 24 of 25 serves in bounds in the match. Scrabeck caught fire midway through the set, smashing the ball through two defenders near the net on some occasions. The Comets took leads of 18-13 and 19-16.
Gudmundson made an incredible dive and pass on second contact, but the (Eagles) won the point for a 22-21 lead. The Eagles dug out a hard Jackie Steenerson spike and won another tough point to go up 24-23. They won the set 26-24 to go ahead 2-1.
Despite the energy they devoted to the long comeback in the set, the Comets did not suffer any letdown. In fact, both teams kept finding more in the tank throughout the roller-coaster match.
In the fourth set, Three Rivers came back from down 15-11 to take a 19-18 lead. Weston, facing two defenders at the net, tapped a hit to a front-row opening to tie it up, and Kenzie Glenn followed with two aces. Scrabeck again hit one through two front row defenders for a 24-23 lead. Taylor Gudmundson closed the set out with an ace off the hands in the front row.
Gudmundson, a passer most of the day, had a big hit right on the back line to tie the fifth set at 2-2. That gave the serve to Weston, who served five straight points to finally give the Comets some breathing room at 7-2. During the streak, Weston placed an ace right on the sideline, and repeatedly gave the Comets initial advantage on points, with Holly Disch mopping up against the discombobulated defense.
With the Comets ahead 11-8, Jackie Steenerson guided one from the middle toward the sideline in front of back row hitters for a kill. Weston came up with the game’s final kill on an emphatic shot for a 14-8 lead, before service errors by both teams brought an anticlimactic end to the match.
Disch led the Comets with 18 kills and served six aces. Scrabeck had 10 and Weston nine. Harman came up with 20 digs, Scrabeck added 14, Weston 10 and Kenzie Glenn eight.
NHS wins in Vancouver
Naselle beat the Washington State School for the Deaf in Vancouver 25-13, 25-14, 25-11 Thursday. Holly Disch overpowered the Terriers with nine kills in 11 attempts and served six aces. Hailey Weston served another seven aces, getting 19 of 20 serves in play.