Tenacious IHS netters battle North Beach

Ebby McMullen (no. 12) sets the ball as Jasmine Judd (no. 1) and Alayna Marsh (no. 3) prepare to pounce.

ILWACO — North Beach beat Ilwaco in five close sets on Thursday, Oct. 20. The Fishermen led two sets to one, but the Hayaks came back to force a tie-breaking set, which they won 15-13.

North Beach took a 17-10 lead in the first game, but Ilwaco came roaring back. Madeline Jacobson served seven straight points, including three aces, for a 20-18 lead. The Fishermen took the set 25-23.

In the second set, Jacobson got on another roll serving. Her ace gave Ilwaco a 6-4 lead. A strong Jacobson serve had the Hayaks scrambling, and Jasmine Judd quickly finished off the point at the net for an 8-4 lead. Ebby McMullen set up Alayna Marsh for a kill and a 9-4 lead. North Beach came back to take a 16-11 lead.

Later in the set, a long rally had Ilwaco scrambling, but on third contact McMullen got control of the ball and redirected it for a well-placed kill to cut the lead to 22-18. Katie Glasson hit another tough ball over, leading to a point that cut the lead to three. McMullen chased the ball all the way to the bench and saved it on second contact, but the Hayaks won the point for a 24-21 lead. Hannah Avery finished off the set for North Beach with an ace in the right corner for a 25-21 win.

Throughout the game, the six-foot Jacobson battled North Beach’s towering hitters, Helen Garman (6”1’) and Melia Atkins (5”10’). Early in the third set, she put back two kill attempts on one play, winning the battle for a 4-2 lead. Three setter dumps by McMullen helped Ilwaco to a 12-9 lead.

The Hayaks came back for a 22-19 lead. McMullen dumped another one over for a point, sparking a strong finish to the set for Ilwaco. Gracie Barnett served the final five points, including three aces. On game point, McMullen set one high for Jacobson, who slammed it into the back row for a 25-22 win.

In the fourth set, Ilwaco began hitting the ball into the net, and North Beach took a 15-6 lead. Katie Glasson served two aces to help get Ilwaco close at 15-11. McMullen had another well-timed setter dump to place the Hayaks on defense, helping Ilwaco win a long rally to cut the lead to 17-13. Taylor Sheldon tipped the ball over the net for a kill that cut the lead to three. After a kill by Barnett down the line, Zoey Warner hit a low line drive for an ace to cut it to 19-18. However, North Beach closed out the set, winning 25-21.

That forced a decisive set, to be won by the first team to 15. Jacobson hit it through the hands of Atkins for a 2-1 lead, then hit one around Garman for a 4-2 edge. Sheldon’s kill made it 5-2. North Beach came back for a 10-8 lead. Despite a pair of powerful kills by Alayna Marsh, the Hayaks retained the lead at 12-10 and closed out the set for a 15-13 win.

Jacobson was 100% accurate with her serves, including four aces, and added 18 kills. McMullen had 23 assists and dumped over eight kills. Marsh added another eight kills. Ilwaco fell to 4-7, including 1-5 in league play.

First-place Life Christian beat Ilwaco at home 25-8, 25-14, 25-10. The host Eagles named Madeline Jacobson Player of the Match.

“We played a team at the top of the league,” said Ilwaco coach Rachel Rideout. “I thought we did well. We played hard, we got a lot of good digs. Life Christian always shows good sportsmanship.” The Eagles remained unbeaten at week’s end at 9-0.

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