RAINIER — The Rainier volleyball team showed bits and flashes of good things to come, but tough stretches and unforced errors outweighed them at home Wednesday night in a sweep at the hands of Toutle Lake, 25-17, 25-12, 25-12.
“We have a lot of players starting in new positions,” first-year Rainier coach Carrie Ooms said. “Definitely for us, it’s going to be a rebuilding year. We’re slowly working towards things. Tonight we were confused about where we were supposed to be. Everybody has an off night; apparently this was ours. But we can only go up from here.”
It took the Mountaineers about half the first set to get going, after spotting the visiting Ducks a double-digit lead early with a rash of tough passes and miscommunications. When they were able to tighten things up, they got onto the scoreboard, got the ball back at the service line, and were able to go on a few runs, closing the gap before ultimately running out of time.
That momentum carried over to the second set, which began back-and-forth, tied at 5-5. From there, though the wheels fell off the bus, and by the time the Mountaineers got them reattached, they found themselves in a 14-5 hole from which they wouldn’t be able to recover.
And as the first set’s end bled into the second’s start, so too did the second’s end bleed into the beginning of third. Once again falling behind early, the troubles that beset Rainier to start the match came back to end it in a tough loss.
Acacia Murphy had 10 kills at the net to lead the Mountaineers. Brooklynn Swenson dished out 32 assists.
On the back row, both Alyssa Lofgren and Olivia Earsley both had 14 digs.
Meanwhile up front, Anika Plowman and Anabelle Whiteman, along with Lilly Peck and Murphy rotating in, spent much of the night getting hands up to Toutle Lake’s big hitters, racking up multiple blocks and taking the sting out of plenty of other spikes.
“Right now we have a pretty young team,” Ooms said. “Our middles we had in the front row, one’s a sophomore and one’s a freshman. So we definitely have a lot of potential, a lot of learning to do. But I think we played pretty well.”
Rainier (3-5) is set to play at Northwest Christian in Lacey on Monday, then return to league play with a Tuesday matchup at Toledo.