SOUTH BEND - Their main league nemesis of the last few years and especially this season, the South Bend Indians did it again and beat the Naselle Comets in the teams' final Pacific League volleyball match of the season.
Naselle's 0-3 loss to the Indians Thursday, Oct. 30, in the county seat, pinned the first league loss of the year on the Comets. That loss put the Comets, South Bend and Willapa Valley into a three-way tie for the league title.
The three teams will finish as co-champions of the Pacific League. However, a playoff for seeding positions in the Southwest Washington District B Tournament was held at Raymond on Monday. The three-way tie came about when Valley defeated South Bend and Naselle beat Valley in earlier matches, followed by this South Bend defeat of Naselle.
The Indians took care of business in the match, denying the Comets a win in any of the three games. The game scores were 25-20, 25-23 and 25-19. The Comets league record dropped to 7-1 and their overall record to 11-3.
"The third match of the week did not go well for us," said coach Debbie Denny. "We played some good defense, but in volleyball you have to play offense to win games, and our offensive game was not up to par. On the other hand, South Bend came at us with some excellent serving and hitting and they have excellent setters.
"We failed to pass the ball to our setters and so with very little
hitting from the Naselle side of the net, South Bend took full advantage and had several well-placed hits at us. We dug out a lot of the hits, but obviously not enough because we lost in three [games] for the first time this season.
"We started game one OK, earning a 4-0 lead. After both teams had made one full rotation of servers, the score was Naselle 11 and SB 12. Then we stayed even - basically by playing good defense on our part and not so much offense. We were tied 19-19 but SB pulled away to win 25-20."
With the first game loss, the Comets needed to get off to a good start in game two. That didn't happen as they fell behind 5 -10, then 6 -13.
"Jaimie Hines came in and served well and played great back row defense and we pulled within 3 points at 12-15," Denny said.
"With Marijane (Mobley) serving and Annie (Herrold) and Toni (Abbott) playing front row, we got within one at 17 to 18. The Comets then took the lead 20-19 with Annie serving. South Bend missed their serve, and we went ahead 21-19; SB scored the next two points and we scored one and we went up 22- 21, then 23-21. But we failed to keep hitting at SB and they powered three strong serves and had good hitting for four straight points and they won 25 to 23. It was a tough loss," lamented Denny.
The Comets' second game loss put them into a position where they had to come back if they were going to remain alive in the match. It wasn't to be.
"We went completely flat - and SB could tell we were struggling with our passing game. SB took the lead and never looked back in their 25-19 win," said Denny.
The loss assured a three-way tie for first place. The playoff matches, for tournament seeding, played on Monday at Raymond High School called for a two matches with each of the other teams. The teams drew for position on the schedule with each team playing the other two teams in single games. If still tied after that, the first tiebreaker was the most most points scored. If still tied, the opponents who scored the least against each team was the second tiebreaker.
"All three teams will advance to district play, but the winning team on Monday night will get two byes and play the second match on Friday night at Napavine. The second and third place teams, will play Wednesday night [at Centralia] in loser out matches, with teams from the Central League. So Wednesday night will be must-win night to advance to play on Friday and a chance for State which will be in Yakima at the Sundome," Denny explained
The Naselle C-squad opened the night's action with a 2-0 win over the young Indians team. Naselle won 25-4 and 26-24.
"The girls played awesome and only had one missed serve in both games. Kelsi Nelson was the top server with 13 service points," Coach Jenny Forney said. "Erin Saari had a great passing game and Megan Kato and Cheryl Steppe were very aggressive at the net."
The Naselle JVs lost 2-1 by scores of: 25 -19, 20-25 and 16-18. Coach Kim Eaton said, "Katherine Herrold played an all around great game. Chelsea Johnson, Reese Moore and Brittany Pellervo all contributed a lot to the serving game.
"Both Jenny and I want to comment on how much all the girls have improved during this season."
Naselle 20 23 19 - (0)
South Bend 25 25 25 - (3)