MENLO — Haily Murray led Napavine to a four-set win over Ilwaco Wednesday, Nov. 6, ending the Lady Fishermen’s District playoff trip.

The Lady Tigers, the sixth-place Central League team, finished off the first set with back-to-back points on hits to the middle.

Napavine took leads of 8-1 and 12-4 in the second before Ilwaco rallied. After back-to-back misses into the net by the Tigers, Sophia Marsh nailed a kill at a diving defender to cut the lead to 14-11.

Marsh won a battle at the net with a spike to cut it to 20-17. Kaylee Barnett followed with a slow lob to an abandoned sideline for a point. A string of Tiger miscues followed, putting Ilwaco ahead.

Abby Knopski had a strong hit at the net, where the Tiger defender missed into the net, extending Ilwaco’s lead to 23-20. Jaymie Patana’s setter dump drew a hold by the Napavine defender. Another held ball on the next play gave the set to Ilwaco, tying the match at one.

With Ilwaco down 14-12 in the third, Barnett sent a shot cross-court and outside the defender’s range for a point. Marsh, on a frantic desperation play, pushed a shot across to the back corner and off the defender’s fist to tie it. Ilwaco led 16-14 after a Napavine miss off the ceiling on the Ilwaco side.

Murray, a hard-hitting six-footer, was heating up for Napavine. She zipped one across for a kill to start a 10-0 Tiger scoring spurt. Sydney Purvis placed a shot in front of Marsh for a two-point lead. Ilwaco had a rough stretch passing and fell further behind. Purvis finished the set with a shot off Marsh’s fists down the sideline, putting Napavine ahead two games to one.

Ilwaco’s hits went long early in the fourth as Napavine went up 8-0. Murray slammed one over the Ilwaco front row and to the middle to make it 11-2, then sent a hit straight down at high velocity for a 15-4 advantage. Murray reached across for a spike, and Napavine soon led 17-6.

Tiana Ramsey’s ace serve, returned into the net by a diving defender, cut the lead to 18-12. Alyssa Marsh hit a hard shot off Murray’s fists for a kill, scored again with a similar hit to cut it to five, and zipped a shot off the libero’s fist to make it a three-point game. Kylie Gray’s ace serve cut it to 20-18 as the Fishermen sought to keep their season going.

Another big hit by Murray pushed the lead back to 22-18.

With Napavine up 22-20, the Tigers crashed toward the net trying to finish a play off, and Sophia Marsh got a lob over them for a point. A hit by Murray then went long, tying it at 22. Napavine’s Skylar Etna missed into the net to give Ilwaco the lead.

Murray answered, making a tough play to tap the ball over for a kill, tying it at 23. A Napavine hit dropped in due to Ilwaco miscommunication, and a hold by Marsh clinched the match for the Tigers.

Ilwaco went 1-2 at Districts after a fourth-place regular-season mark in the Pacific League at 6-3. Napavine lost to host Willapa Valley later in the evening to drop out of Districts.

Mossyrock, Kalama, Toutle Lake, Wahkiakum and Valley took the top five spots at District to advance to the State tournament.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or

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