Ilwaco netters gaining in confidence

Ilwaco players prepared to return a Willapa Valley hit.

CATHLAMET — The Fishermen took a two sets to none lead on Wahkiakum, but the Mules came back to win three straight sets, taking the match 17-25, 20-25, 25-10, 25-17, 15-11 on Thursday, Sept. 14.

“They’re starting to believe they can win,” said Ilwaco coach Trisha Gibson, “and that wasn’t the case in the past. Now they just need to hold onto that belief throughout the match.”

On game point in the opening set, libero Ebby McMullen dug out a hard hit by Wahkiakum, leading to Makenzie Kaech’s third kill of the set.

The second set was tied or very close most of the way. Taylor Sheldon served with a 19-18 lead and found gaps in the defense for three straight aces. Middle hitter Madeline Jacobson followed shortly after with a crafty hit away from blockers for a 24-20 lead. Kaech finished off the set with a great play, leaping, changing direction in the air, and slamming the ball down into open space.

Ilwaco struggled at the start of the third set, missing into the net or long. The Mules took leads of 10-2 and 14-3, on their way to an easy win of the set.

After dropping the fourth set, Ilwaco fell behind 5-2 in the deciding fifth set. After a couple of Wahkiakum errors, Jaymi Patana had a setter dump over the front row to tie it at six. Kaech had a similar hit to give Ilwaco the lead. Alayna Marsh served an ace, placing the ball in front of a diving dig attempt, to push the lead to 9-7. Wahkiakum scored eight of the final ten points to win the match.

MENLO — Willapa Valley beat Ilwaco 25-11, 25-15, 25-20 Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Jaymie Patana got off to a scorching start for Ilwaco. She served two straight aces to open the game. She then made a diving stop just before the ball hit the ground, bumping a strong pass that led to a kill to tie it at four. The Fishermen stayed close for a while, but the Vikings closed the set on a 14-2 run.

In the second set, the Vikings won easily despite strong play from Madeline Jacobson, who had two spikes and added a powerful kill on a perfect feed from Patana.

In the third set, Taylor Sheldon helped Ilwaco score five straight points to tie it at ten. She knocked the ball out of a Valley player’s hands at the net for a point, then turned back a Valley spike attempt to help the Fishermen win another point.

The Vikings followed with ten straight points for a 20-10 lead. Patana overpowered the Valley back row with three straight aces, sparking a 10-3 Ilwaco run, but the Vikings scored two straight points to close out the match.

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