NASELLE — The Comets beat Three Rivers Christian Thursday, Oct. 25, to finish the season tied for first-place in the Coastal League. With the Comets clinging to a 24-23 lead in the final set, Weston tapped a shot cross-court to an opening on the left side to finish off the win. Jackie Steenerson dominated from the right pole to finish with seven kills. Sophie Scrabeck led the team with eight kills and nine digs.
Steenerson’s hits gave the Comets their first five points, including an ace serve that tied the game at five. Taylor Gudmundsen repeatedly found her with short-range, behind-the-back sets that led her straight toward the net to slam it down the sideline.
“[Gudmundsen] can tell when I’m back there,” Steenerson said. “She listens when I’m calling for it.”
“She was just really on,” Gudmundsen said of Steenerson. “She was talking, calling for it. That’s her sweet spot, by the right-side pin.” Thanks in part to this communication, Gudmundsen consistently sensed Steenerson in her blindspot, to her right and a bit behind her. “When a pass pulls me in toward the net, that sets that play up,” Gudmundsen said.
The first set was tied at five before Naselle opened up a 13-7 lead with the help of strong serving by Holly Disch, who got three aces in four points. Naselle scored 25 of its 75 points on aces during the match. Naselle took its biggest lead at 20-10 on a soaring back-row kill from Disch, and went on to win the set 25-19.
In the second set, Steenerson again helped Naselle survive some early struggles, scoring a point with a spike and another with an overpowering slam. Midway through the set, Disch made a tough save and then, when the ball bounced quickly back to her, she somehow hit it over the net and to the middle for a kill, stretching the lead to 9-6. As the Eagles struggled to return serves, Naselle pulled away for the 25-13 win.
Three Rivers made the third set more competitive, but Scrabeck was at her best. She started it off with a kill off the top of the net, then an emphatic spike to go up 2-0. She slid in to fill a gap in the defense, setting up a kill by Weston for the 3-2 lead. Naselle fell behind 11-7, but Scrabeck knocked one through the defender’s hands at the net to cut it to 11-10. Scrabeck’s high-velocity fastball on another perfect Gudmundsen feed was too hard for the defense, making it 15-12.
But that final set remained close throughout. Another spike by Steenerson put Naselle back up by three. Scrabeck missed into the net, leaving the Comets clinging to a 24-23 edge. Weston found an opening in the front corner and redirected the ball that way for the match-clinching kill.
Weston and Steenerson tied for the team lead with four aces apiece. Gudmundsen had 26 kills and seven digs. Disch and Steenerson each had seven kills, second on the team behind Scrabeck’s eight.
The Comets tied Firm Foundation with a 7-1 league record, but go to Districts as the second-place Coastal League team after losing a coinflip. Their first-round playoff game was Tuesday against Taholah, after press time. A Tuesday victory would put them at Tumwater Thursday, where semifinals, finals and the third-place game take place.