LONGVIEW — Naselle got two starters back the lineup but couldn’t stop Zowie Carmody as Three Rivers Christian came away with a 25-15, 25-19, 25-22 victory on Oct. 24.
Setter Peyton Dalton and hitter Zanith Wulf both made season debuts, but the new-look Comets did not gel immediately, while on the other side of the net Carmody dominated. A late Comet rally wasn’t enough to change the outcome.
Dalton had spent weeks recovering from a scary quad accident days before the season began. But just as she completed her comeback, she was hit with tonsillitis, which forced coach Rebekah Wirkkala to limit her playing time Thursday.
Carmody set the tone for the night with four overpowering kills in the opening set, which the Eagles won handily.
Jackie Steenerson got going with three kills early in the second, adding another point with a block that led to a double-hit, to keep Naselle within striking distance at 7-5. But Three Rivers got several spikes and built a seven-point lead, on its way to a solid 25-19 second-set victory.
Naselle trailed 12-10 in the third but fought furiously to stay in the match. Peyton Dalton redirected a tough shot up and over, setting up a Steenerson kill that sparked a 6-0 run. Kaylin Shrives had a pair of hard hits to win a point during the stretch, putting Naselle up 15-12. Steenerson’s reach-over spike made it 18-14.
With the Comets ahead 21-16, Dalton made a remarkable diving dig way to her right, getting off a good pass, but Chantelle Isaacson won the point with a hard shot back at Dalton, starting a 4-0 Eagle run. Steenerson responded, tapping her hit to the outside of the blocker but just in-bounds to put the Comets up by two.
Isaacson got one over from way left of the pole, creating an Eagle point to cut it to 22-21. Carmody tied it with a kill, then gave the Eagles the lead with a cross-court slam on a free ball. Serving at 24-22, Isaacson clinched the match with an ace that zipped down off the top of the net.
Naselle will visit Columbia Adventist for the regular season finale Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. Their playoff opener will be Nov. 5 at a time and place to be determined.