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Ilwaco Volleyball

Sept. 15. Lost to Wahkiakum, 25-14, 25-10, 25-15.

Sept. 17. Beat Oakville, 23-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-16

Sept. 19. Third at North Beach tourney

Next: vs. Life Christian Academy, home 7 p.m. Thursday and at Raymond Tourney Saturday.

By PATRICK WEBB

Observer correspondent

Ilwaco coach Rachelle Ridout likes her volleyball team’s improvement.

But she’s pleased for another reason.

The Fishermen earned the sportsmanship award at the North Beach Volleyball Tournament Saturday.

The vote from players from the other teams delighted the squad, who have a 1-2 record as the season moves into its third week. “They were very proud of that,” said the coach.

At the tourney, Ilwaco played in the lightning round — where teams contest for 15-minute games to determine seeding — and earned a spot in the winners’ bracket. The Fishermen eventually took third place, falling to finalists Montesano JV (coincidentally Ridout’s alma mater).

“We had a chance to play with the lineup and find out who had the best chemistry,” said the first-year head coach. “They played hard. It was a fun tournament, and nice to see them play against their league opponents.

“I believe our league is very strong this year, but we are all going to compete with each other.

“We still have some things we need to work on, but they performed well as a team.”

Thursday’s nonleague game against Oakville demonstrated Ilwaco can dominate.

The tone was set by a Fisherman ace on the first serve.

But Oakville won the first set 25-23 after a back-and-forth series of points which saw Ilwaco move out to a 10-5 lead which evaporated down the stretch. At 20-23, Ilwaco took a time out and rallied before losing the set.

“We are still working at playing up to our potential,” said Ridout. “We may have come out a bit slow, but they picked up when they needed.”

In the second set, the Fishermen offered renewed intensity, inspired by one of many powerful kills by 6-0 tall junior Madeline Jacobson. They then capitalized on several Oakville errors to build a 13-1 lead which stretched to 19-5 before the Acorns came back briefly.

The third and fourth sets saw Ilwaco lead all the way. Oakville came as close as 17-15 in the third, but a good combination set by freshman Elizabeth McMullen and kill by Jacobson emphasized the Fishermen’s superiority.

After that, it was all Ilwaco. Final scores were 23-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-16, but team members may have made it hard on themselves, establishing significant leads then allowing the Acorns to almost catch back up.

“It’s a mental thing, and something that every team struggles with,” said the coach. “It is something that we are going to keep improving.”

Ridout commended Jacobson for multiple kills and noted the power of senior Allison Bonney. “She is our most consistent server.”

Having lost to Naselle in a nonleague home opener, Ilwaco traveled to Cathlamet Sept. 15 and lost 25-14, 25-10 and 25-15 to the Mules, who were playing their first home game. “Wahkiakum has a very strong team, but we played hard and never gave up,” said Ridout.

Ilwaco was at Naselle Tuesday then hosts Life Christian Academy 7 p.m. Thursday before heading to another tournament at Raymond Saturday.

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