NASELLE — Anyone who has been to a Naselle Comets volleyball match this season has probably heard the sound that head coach Bekah Wirkkala produces when her team is playing particularly well. Her ululation sounds not dissimilar to that of the 1990s TV character Xena, Warrior Princess. Wishkah High School, the Comets opponent last Thursday, were likely pretty tired of that sound by the time the Comets were finished with their 3-0 win — 25-13, 25-21, 25-10.
Despite winning in straight sets, it wasn’t the Comets’ easiest victory this season. Unforced errors were bugaboo that may have played a bigger role in the outcome when playing against a better team.
“Especially that second game. I could tell they were thinking too much,” said Coach Wirkkala of her team, whose second game of the match was decided by just four points. “A lot of the game is (reaction based). Just let your body do the work. They (Wishkah) got progressively better as the match went on. But I tell the girls every game to expect that the other team is going to be great. Sometimes our league can be a little weaker, but we still have to have that mindset.”
The Comets put away the third set of the match, after see-sawing points by both teams, with quality serving. Hailey Weston served for five straight points, followed later by Taylor Ford, who closed out the match with six straight service points.
“We had missed two or three serves in a row and that is a coaches nightmare, just like missing free throws (in basketball). You have 100 percent control. But you have to pick each other up, that’s what I’m trying to teach them.”
Ford and Ellie Chapman led the team with 11 kills apiece. Chapman also led the team with 19 digs, Ford added 11. Taylor Gudmundsen led the team with 29 set assists.
“She did amazing tonight,” said Wirkkala of Gudmundsen. “We’re trying to teach her that even though you’re off the net, you need to still be there for your hitters and set to the right angle. She’s really grasping those concepts. It’s a big role.”
The win put the Comets at 6-1 for the season and 2-0 in league play. They faced Oakville Tuesday night (after deadline) and will play at Mary M. Knight on Thursday night.
The Comets beat Taholah 25-8, 25-14 and 25-9 on the road in their Coastal League opener Tuesday, Sept. 27. Ellie Chapman had 12 kills, Tayler Ford had 10 and Amelia Tutu’u had seven. Taylor Gudmundsen had 25 assists. Ford and Kyryn Jacot each served seven aces.