ILWACO — Donning tie-dyed pink, blue and purple uniform tops in support of a local girl battling cancer, Ilwaco defeated Pe Ell 25-13, 25-23, 25-21 Thursday, Oct. 18. A raffle at the game raised funds for the medical expenses of Dylan Harrell, 4, who is suffering from diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a usually fatal form of cancer. Part of the funds raised also went toward DIPG research.
The team had hoped to have Harrell attend and make her honorary captain, but she had to undergo radiation treatment. Nevertheless, the team donned her favorite colors, as did most in the crowd. Players and fans for both teams shouted “We love you Dylan” for a cellphone recording, to be played for Harrell in the hospital.
The tie-dyed home team got off to a good start, taking the first set 25-13 with the help of very strong serving from Jaymi Patana, Ariana Bell and Alyssa Marsh.
The Fishermen stayed in control early in the second. Ilwaco took an 8-2 lead when Ebby McMullen overpowered Katie Davis in the middle. Davis answered on the next point with a hard hit that went over McMullen and overpowered Marsh, starting a 5-0 Pe Ell run. Ilwaco stretched its lead back to 15-10 when Marsh aimed a shot away from two defenders at the net to find an opening. But Davis again got on a roll at the net, putting the Trojans up 19-18. The Trojans led 23-22, but some late Pe Ell misses allowed Ilwaco to take the set 25-23.
Ilwaco led most of the way in the third set. Setter Faith Simonson blooped one over on second contact in front of a scrambling Pe Ell defense for the 13-9 lead. Another setter dump by Simonson, well-disguised and perfectly angled, made it 15-11.
After the Trojans came back to tie it at 16, McMullen gave Ilwaco back the lead. She set up the defense with a hit to the back row gap, forcing a dive to the inside, then finished off the play with a kill to the outside for the 17-16 lead.
Asu Herrera-Sanchez added a couple of kills to the middle of the court, helping Ilwaco stretch it to 22-18. Patana dove to her right for a tough save that made it 23-20. A short serve by the Trojans completed Ilwaco’s 25-21 victory in the set, clinching the match.
Ilwaco, currently in sixth place at 3-4 in Pacific League play, will close out its regular season at home against Raymond Wednesday at 7 p.m.. The district playoffs begin Saturday.