Pirates Pull Out Close Sweep at Napavine


NAPAVINE — There were two modes Tuesday night in the gym in Tiger Town — loud and louder — as dueling student sections mixed with two energetic benches to create a never-ending roar only broken up once or twice for the entire match between Adna and Napavine. 

There were only two modes on the court as well — close and closer — but it was the Pirates who had the final answer to every set, escaping town with a 25-16, 25-22, 25-23 sweep.

“With Napavine, they fight hard,” Adna coach Wendie Dotson said. “We both fought. It’s like a rivalry, and we both hate to lose to each other. Everybody’s trying to dig deep, which also adds that pressure to play good. You don’t want to play safe, you want to be aggressive and win, but sometimes you have to be smart.”

After Adna held an arms-length lead the entire first set, Napavine came out firing in a second full of twists and turns. The Tigers jumped out to a 9-5 early lead, then saw it evaporate into a 14-11 deficit. With the home crowd behind them, they rattled off five straight points to take the lead right back and got as far as 22-18, before Adna got the ball back to its service line and Danica Hallom served up six straight points to give the guests the commanding 2-0 lead.

“I think we got a little too aggressive,” Napavine coach Monica Dailey said. “The girls I think did a good job of staying focused tonight, but I think they were trying to do too much. They just have to not panic and trust the process. They’re good enough.”

Come the third, it was more of the same, Napavine going ahead early and Adna playing catch-up. But catch up the Pirates did, and while they never led by more than four points — and Napavine fended off three set points at the end — one last kill sealed the deal.

“It’s really hard, because they were very emotional and playing hard, and it’s hard to beat a team like that,” Dotson said. “I don’t think necessarily that we couldn’t pull away; I think that they were earning points to stop our runs, and vice versa.”

Danika Hallom and Kendall Humphrey both put down eight kills to lead the Pirates on offense. Hallom added eight digs and an ace to her final tally, while Humphrey had seven digs but two aces.

Gaby Guard did a fair bit of everything for Adna, posting 15 assists, three kills, three aces, and five digs.

“I thought that Gaby Guard did a good job of running the offense,” Dotson said. “She gets to set more because we get more opportunities.

Brooklyn Loose added seven assists, two kills, and three aces. Miriam Wilson led the Pirates on defense at the net with four blocks — with Charissa Schierman helping her out more often than not in that area — while Parker Feist led the back row with nine digs.

Emily Kang finished with a match-high 12 digs for Napavine, leading the serve-receive effort, while Grace Gall posted 10 digs and three kills. Keira O’Neill led the Tigers with seven kills and two blocks, while Morgan Hamilton had four kills and seven digs. Jessie McCoy put down a pair of blocks while also logging a 100% night at the service line.

Napavine will be right back in action Tuesday, hosting Raymond, and the Tigers will make it three home matches in a row Thursday against Winlock. For its part, Adna will get back-to-back road games, playing at Willapa Valley on Thursday and at Toledo on Thursday.