ILWACO - With 17 ties in the first two games, Ilwaco played LaCenter in as close a match as can be imagined in Trico League volleyball at Aase Gym Thursday, but fell to the Wildcats in three games.
The Lady Fishermen were defeated 23-25 and 22-25, before falling in the final contest 16-25. With the band blaring and the entire football team cheering wildly every bump, set, and spike, Ilwaco played some their best volleyball of the season, according to Coach Grant Chinn.
Katie Hazen blocked one shot, then made a great dig to save a point and give Ilwaco an early 2-0 lead. Her serves and a spike later gave the Lady Fishermen a 7-5 lead. Heather Hocking saved two points, Nicole Adams slammed two kills, and Brittney Fox powered an ace serve to pull Ilwaco even at 13-13.
Hazen made another key dig and kill, Fox blocked a spike for a point, and Mary Margaret Tomberlin dove for another save to pull the ladies even at 20-20. With the largest home crowd of the season creating bedlam, Tomberlin served three scores to pull ahead 23-20. Enter LaCenter sophomore, Tanya Baker. Her five serves and three kills led to the Wildcats roaring to a 25-23 win.
Game two was tied eight times in the first 13 points for each team in an intensely played five minutes. Baker and Jenny Stanfill gave LaCenter an 18-13 lead, but Adams killed a point and Hocking's athletic play and leadership helped bring Ilwaco back to 19-22. Hazen's serving and Tomberlin's diving digs took the Lady Fishermen to 22-23. A block by Baker and two spikes from her and Stanfill put the game away for the visitors, 25-22.
The final game was no-contest early as the Wildcats built leads of 6-0 and 20-7. Ilwaco went on a 7-1 tear of their own behind the hitting of Adams, but their comeback proved to be too little too late as the front line of Baker, Stanfill, and Heather Peterson outgunned the Lady Fishermen.
Ilwaco's record moves to 3-8, 3-7 in League. They play at White Salmon Tuesday and return home to take on Stevenson on Thursday, with an outside shot at qualifying for District play still within the realm of possibility.
The JV's dropped two games, but Laurie Hazen had praise for the serving of Becky Graff.
LaCenter 25 25 25
Ilwaco 23 22 16