MENLO - Winning an athletic contest in the Willapa Valley Vikings gym has historically been a tough challenge for Naselle High School athletic teams. This year was no exception as the Naselle Comettes volleyball team had to work hard to squeeze by the Vikings 3-1 in a Pacific League match played Thursday, Oct. 17.
The league leading Comettes (tied with South Bend) improved their league record to 4-0 and 8-2 overall with the hard-earned win. NHS sandwiched wins in two very close games around a Valley blowout win, before running away with the deciding fourth game. The game scores were 15-13, 6-15, 16-14, and 15-4.
Coach Doug Rogers gave credit to a mixture of the veterans and youngsters on the Comettes for their play in notching the win. Seniors Tiffany Pauly with five kills, Abbie Smith for her net play, Jordan Varila for her setting, and Lucy Rubio for her all around play were each given kudos by Rogers. In addition, sophomores Katie Klinger for her late game serving and Annie Herrold for her five kills were the younger players singled out for praise by Rogers.
The first two NHS game wins, in games one and three, were heart-stoppers. Naselle fell behind 5-8 after the first complete team rotation of the opening game. NHS rallied with four straight points while Dawn Herman was serving for the second time and Naselle led 12-9. Herman had an ace during her second serving turn.
Valley whittled away at the Naselle lead and came back to tie the game at 13. The teams then battled through five changes of serve with Naselle picking up a point off Tiffany Pauly's serve and then getting the game winning point with Herman again serving as the Comettes squeezed out the 15-13 win
Game two turned into a lopsided Valley win after NHS got an early 5-2 lead. The Vikings then held the Comettes to only one point as they knocked down 13 points in their 15-6 win.
Whatever had bothered their scoring in game two, the Comettes took care of in game three, but not without a struggle. Naselle quickly took a 6-1 lead, then an 8-2 lead before the Vikings came back to tie it at 8. Valley then worked its way to an 11-10 lead and increased its lead to 13-10 as NHS again couldn't score.
With Pauly doing some of her best serving (10 of 11 for the game), NHS closed to within a points of the Vikings. Again, there were four changes of serve before Naselle added two points for a 14-13 lead. Valley tied the score at 14 before Naselle scored the final two points behind Abbie Smith's serving, for the 16-14 win.
Game four was anticlimactic as NHS quickly took control, to lead 6-3 early. They then all but put the game and match away as Lucy Rubio get her serve to work after early serving problems. Rubio served three aces while the Comettes were smashing home seven straight points to lead 14-4. Naselle then added the game and match point for the 15-4 game win and the 3-1 match win
Rogers said, "It (the Valley gym) is always a tough place to play. We were able to win this one but I believe that Valley could give South Bend a real battle when they play there." (South Bend is also currently undefeated in league play.)
The Naselle c-squad split their two game with the Valley "Cs," winning 15-10 and losing 5-15. The Naselle JVs beat Valley 2-1 by scores of 15-3, 13-15, and 15-11.
Naselle 15 6 16 15 - (3)
Willapa 13 15 14 4 - (1)