A four-set win over Eatonville on Saturday to wrap up the regular season wasn’t quite enough for the Tenino volleyball team. The 25-9, 29-27, 24-26, 25-14 result, which gave the Beavers their first 1A Evergreen win of the season, leveled Tenino with the Cruisers for fourth place in the league. But since the win — like Eatonville’s win over Tenino back on Oct. 11 — came in four sets, the two teams were completely locked up in the table, and in need of a tiebreaker.
A tiebreaker that the Beavers themselves didn’t know about.
“We didn’t tell them what the tiebreaker looked like going in, because we just wanted them to play ball,” coach Shauna Carpenter said. “There’s nothing worse than worrying about what’s going to happen next. Sometimes you just have to live in the moment.”
So when the moment arrived, Carpenter told her Beavers what they needed to do: after beating the Cruisers three times in four sets, their season would come down to one more set, first to 25 going to districts.
And her players responded, rolling to a 25-14 win to punch the ticket.
“They showed no mercy,” Carpenter said. “They didn’t even really let them hang around.”
Playing a few new faces in different spots in a mixed-up lineup, Tenino had multiple players step up. Sophia Hussey, moving from the middle to the pin, led the Beavers with eight kills and had four blocks as well. Brianna Asay added four kills.
Seaonna Morgan also moved out of the middle, joining Brooke Bratton at setter. The two of them both had three kills out of the back row, and Carpenter estimated that they combined for over 15 more kills on tips and dumps.
“I had a meeting just the three of us right before, and said, ‘Hey I want you to let loose tonight. Know who your hitters are, know where their blockers are,’” Carpenter said. “I don’t want to say they played carefree because it wasn’t carefree, but it was done without thought and really smartly.”
Natalie Davis paced the back row with 25 digs.
Helping the Beavers’ cause was a juiced-up student section, according to Carpenter, powered by the Tenino golf team.
“Just having that energy in the gym made the difference,” she said. “And the girls could feel it on the court.”
Tenino will move on to the 1A District 4 tournament, and will take on La Center at Castle Rock on Wednesday.