OCEAN SHORES – Ilwaco won its third straight game, beating North Beach 25-23, 25-16, 25-15 Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Ilwaco coach Michaela Eastham has tinkered with Ilwaco’s lineup in recent games. She moved Sophia Marsh and Jaymi Patana to the middle, setting up shorter swings that are resulting in them keeping their hits in-bounds. Marsh came through with 12 kills against North Beach. Ariana Bell slid into Patana’s libero slot, a position Bell has also played in past years.
“Bell has the highest serve-receive percentage on the team,” Eastham said. “And her back-row kills today were phenomenal. She had four back-row kills.”
Sabrina Lessenden got rotations at setter for the first time, a position she shared with Faith Simonson and Riana Ramsey, finishing with nine assists.
North Beach opened with a 15-13 lead, but Sophia Marsh bumped one over into an opening to start an 8-1 Ilwaco run. Alyssa Marsh followed with an ace serve that froze two defenders, and Asu Herrera-Sanchez’s powerful hit put Ilwaco up 17-16. The Fishermen stretched the lead to 24-18 on Patana’s hit to the corner, on which the back-pedaling defender could not get off a pass.
North Beach’s Letty Carcaise spiked the ball to an opening to cut it to 24-22. Ebby McMullen then missed off the top of the net with a front-row hit attempt, cutting the lead to one. But on the next point, McMullen got the kill, pinpointing her hit just behind a front-row defender, who could not gain control. Ilwaco clinched the set 25-23.
Sophia Marsh opened the second set with a kill to the middle of the court, Simonson followed with an ace, and Ilwaco jumped in front 7-1. North Beach cut it to 15-11, but Sophia Marsh hit the back line for a kill, starting a 5-0 run, and Ilwaco cruised to take the set 25-16.
Simonson’s setter dump forced a diving miss for a 3-1 third-set lead. McMullen followed with an overpowering shot into the back-row gap, then beat Jessica Garman to the ball for a spike and a 7-2 lead. Wylie McHale closed out the match by serving four straight points, including two aces.