Oooooh ... so close

<p>Lady Fishermen Noelle McPhail, Franziska Feil and Darian Johnson watch as Castle Rock’s Emilee Janisch dives to save a ball during their match last Thursday.</p>

ILWACO — Maybe it was the excitement of senior night, but the Lady Fishermen brought a little something extra last Thursday as they played perhaps their best match of the season, pushing the defending state champion Castle Rock to a close four game match. The Lady Rockets won the match 25-17, 23-25, 25-13 and 25-22.

“I hate to lose,” said sophomore Hannah Ellsworth after the game. “It was exciting to have us play our best volleyball of the season and come together as a team. I am proud of the way we played and having the crowd’s support definitely helped us.”

Ellsworth was one of the keys to the Lady Fishermen’s exceptional play that night, picking up several diving digs for saves and kills at the net.

Ilwaco had season-highs in the match in aces (19), kills (33), blocks (8) and digs/saves (67).

Junior Darian Johnson had four digs in the second set, won by Ilwaco. Kills by Breanna Kondos and Ellsworth, as well as three service aces from Noelle McPhail gave the Lady Fishermen a 22-18 advantage later in the second set. The set was their first win in league play this year.

In the third set, Castle Rock took a 10-3 lead. Two kills and two aces from Ilwaco’s Rachel Thrasher, a block and kill from Jasmine Coffin and a kill by Franziska Feil brought Ilwaco back to within six points at 15-9, but the Lady Fishermen would get no closer.

The fourth set was a good, old-fashioned brawl with Ilwaco eventually falling by just three points.

Perhaps the most exciting point of the night was a nine-possession rally that featured four diving saves from Ellsworth and one from McPhail that got Ilwaco to within three points at 20-17.

“I was proud of the great effort we gave tonight,” said senior McPhail after. “Everyone picked it up tonight and I definitely feel this was our best match of the year.

Thrasher and Riley Wert joined McPhail in being honored in their final home match of their volleyball careers.

“This match was kind of special because the spirit was amazing,” said German exchange student Feil.

“Every girl did something to contribute tonight,” said coach Eric Cummins. “This match is an indication of how far this team has come this season.”

Thrasher had five aces and five kills and McPhail had 11 saves and four aces. Ellsworth contributed a season-high 11 kills, 20 saves and four aces, while Coffin had a career-high five blocks. Bentley had three blocks and four kills and Johnson chipped in 14 saves, three aces and four kills. Jennifer Navarre hustled for seven digs and had a well-placed kill, and Feil had a pair of kills.

Ilwaco is now 0-12 in league play and 0-14 for the season, while Castle Rock improved to 4-9 for the year and 4-8 in the Trico.

The Lady Rockets won the junior varsity match in equally close fashion 25-15, 15-25 and 15-13. Senior Wert, in her first year of volleyball, did “incredibly well because she is a great athlete” according to JV coach Meredith Payton.

Castle Rock 25 22 25 25

Ilwaco 17 25 13 22

Lady Beavers make short work of Ilwaco 3-0

WOODLAND — The Lady Beavers had no problem with the visiting Ilwaco volleyball team, winning a Trico League match in straight sets 25-6, 25-10 and 25-4 in Woodland on Oct. 22.

Lorna Cummins and Darian Johnson both led in assists and hustled for several saves and digs, as did Franziska Feil and Noelle McPhail. Hannah Ellsworth led the team in kills and Abi Bentley and Jasmine Coffin both had a pair of blocks according to Ilwaco coach Eric Cummins.

“They were quick games and Woodland is a tough opponent, but our girls did not give up,” coach Eric Cummins said.

Woodland is now 10-2 in the Northern Division of the league and trails only Kalama who is 11-0.

In the junior varsity match, Cassandra George had her best outing of the season, serving four straight points including a pair of aces, and she had several digs and saves. The JVs lost 25-3, 25-15 and 15-9 to the young Lady Beavers.

Ilwaco 6 10 4

Woodland 25 25 25

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