YAKIMA – The Kalama train came into Yakima at full speed Thursday morning, as the No. 3 Chinooks dispatched No. 14 Warden in a short time 25-9, 25-13, 25-5 to advance to the second round winners. 2B state tournament support.
“They’re quite determined,” Kalama coach Jeni O’Neil said. “We had a lot of good conversations last night and this morning about the goals, and they were focused. I was my usual coach, nervous, but they were focused.
At first, the Chinooks were happy to let their opponents out of the game; the Cougars gave Kalama eight of his first 12 points on errors to help the Chinooks take a 14-2 lead.
“I think we served well, took control of that service game and got them out of the system early,” O’Neil said.
As the match wore on and Warden settled in, Kalama got into his rhythm.
Paige Chinchen led the Chinooks with 10 kills on .380 hits; Kendal Collins came in behind her on seven kills but hit .416. Irene Martnez added six kills, and Ella Capen and Aleena Ross both had three.
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Setter Rhegan O’Neil delivered 31 assists and had two kills herself.
“Our passes and serves received have been pretty stellar,” Jeni O’Neil said. “It allowed Rhegan to move the ball, and when we have multiple weapons on them it’s hard to defend.”
Collins served five line aces, while Martinez and Rhegan O’Neil had two apiece.
It all culminated in an absolutely dominating third set, in which Kalama took an 11-2 lead and then finished on a 7-0 run.
“We’re glad we did what we did in the districts,” O’Neil said. “I’m delighted with the draw we got, and I think this game was a good kind of warm-up for Kalama Volleyball. I think from now on we will have to be at a very high level to be able to compete, but I’m thrilled with how we started.
Mules swept by Colfax in the first round
Wahkiakum’s volleyball team had an uphill battle on their hands from the moment they got their ranking spell, and although the Mules stayed tough early on, they couldn’t chain each other enough to upset No. 2 Colfax in a 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 sweep.
“We have things to improve before the next game, but I’m not unhappy with that,” said Wahkiakum coach Kayli Hurley. “Colfax is a good team.
Pretty much every set it was a big doom run for the Mules, who even led midway through the third set but saw it fade in short order.
“We hung out with them a lot,” Hurley said. “I feel like if we could have buttressed a few things… Our service-receipt was a bit fragile; they have very good servers, we could have reinforced that a bit and been a bit stronger with our attack , we would have had a better chance of taking at least one set.
Libero Reigha Niemeyer recorded 12 digs, leading a back row that watched Colfax’s heavy hitters throughout. Miya Kerstetter had five digs behind her.
Megan Leitz led the offense with 10 kills, Kameron Watkins had six and Emmie Niemela had two. They were the only three Mules to finish with more wins than errors, however; Wahkiakum finished with more errors than kills for a negative team hitting percentage.
Ducks disappear in a four-set loss
The Toutle Lake volleyball team started with a surge but couldn’t continue, starting their time in Yakima with a four-set loss to No. 9 Okanogan, 21-25, 25- 19, 25-13, 25-23.
The Ducks came out strong with the first set victory and pulled away to take a 17-13 lead in the second, but the Bulldogs roared, rallying for a 12-2 run to take the set. That momentum continued in the third, where Okanogan took an 8-0 lead.
“I knew it would be different coming with just two girls who had already set foot here and the others so young,” TL coach Don Merzoian said. “But at some point you have to get over the deer stare in the headlights and be ready to play, and we just couldn’t turn the tide. It was flat. It was super flat.
Toutle Lake began to pull together in the fourth set and took a brief 23-22 lead after back-to-back aces from Jordyn Grabenhorst but an attacking error, a final kill by Okanogan star Aleena Lafferty and an ace on a pass spelled woe for the Ducks.
Bad passes plague Toutle Lake throughout the game, and the Ducks struggled to put anything together offensively when Grace Hadaller retired. The sophomore hitter led her team with 14 kills, but when she wasn’t an option, most of Toutle Lake’s possessions ended in easy tricks, pushes and digs.
“We couldn’t pass the ball very well on serve-reception, so we pulled out of our attack,” Merzoian said. “We have options, we just couldn’t keep the passes on the net to be able to hit the ball. It took us out of our attack so we weren’t attacking the ball, we were just giving them free balls. Then we couldn’t cover the midfield.
Layni Brandhorst had seven kills for the Ducks and a team-high five blocks. Grabenhorst added five kills.
Makinnley Byman has racked up 27 digs.
The loss knocked Toutle Lake out of the winners’ bracket and into the bracket for seventh place. The Ducks will face Rainier (Wash.) in a losing game at 5:45 p.m. The recap of that game will be live at tdn.com/sports during the final.