YAKIMA — Eighth-ranked Naselle opened the 1B state tournament in bright style Thursday.

The Comets had occasional jitters in their first game, but defeated Pomeroy 25-20, 25-16, 25-12 to advance to a Thursday night game against top-ranked Oakesdale.

Naselle’s district loss to Mossyrock last week had pushed the Comets into part of the 1B bracket packed with eastern Washington talent.

Pomeroy, usually one of the top two eastern volleyball programs — came into the tournament with an untypical 8-7 win-loss record having advanced only fourth in their district.

But once on the court at the SunDome, records mean nothing.

Comets captain Peyton Dalton orchestrated multiple plays as setter, prompting strong combinations with Kaylin Shrives, Echo Cenci and Brynn Tarabochia. Like oak trees, Shrives (5-11), Delaney Kragerud (6-0) and Morgan Reitz (5-10) blocked several promising Pomeroy recoveries.

The first set saw Naselle capitalize on Pirate errors and two clever tip-overs by Kragerud and Cenci that mixed up the responses. Shrives would make a lousy poker player. Every miss produced a grimace and apology; every point won sent arms up in celebration like Rocky on those steps in Philly.

Tarabochia, the libero, apparently has a faulty dictionary. Because “impossible” doesn’t appear. One play stood out. At 17-12, a Pomeroy return looked to be soaring into paydirt in the back court. Somehow she dug it up and Cenci cleverly found time to shape her body to return it skillfully over the net.

18-12. And this was just the overture.

Two solid serves, then a block from Kragerud, a kill from Tarabochia and two intelligently left Pomeroy over-hits that went out ended the second set 25-16.

There was no let-up in the third. Pomeroy got some early momentum and was ahead at 10-11. But the Pirates never led again. Shrives had a tip-over fake, Kragerud a kill and as Pomeroy hit the final shot out, the celebrations began as soon as the ball hit the floor.

After the win, Coach Rebekah Wirkkala was jubilant.

“My team showed up to play,” she enthused. “Well, maybe we missed some serves in the second set, but at the net with Delaney blocking and Kaylin so strong, they shut them down — and Morgan, too. It is awesome when your team is in control of the game!”

Region’s teams

There was mixed success for the region’s other teams which qualified.

In 2B, Raymond beat Lind-Ritzville-Sprague, dropping on set for a 25-21, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23. That set up a clash with Colfax, which had beaten Wahkiakum, 25-15, 25-17, 25-17. The Seagulls won 23-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-23 to move into the semifinals.

The Mules’ losss dropped them into the consolation bracket against Lind-Ritzville-Sprague, where they lost 25-15, 21-25, 25-15, 25-18.

Willapa Valley, the region’s other 1B squad, was up at the crack of dawn to beat Sound Christian Academy 25-10, 27-25, 25-17, but then fell to St. John Endicott/LaCrosse 25-8, 25-8, 25-22. The Vikings were to play again Thursday night.

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