‘Rebuilding’ Vikings return to State with sweep of Comets


MOSSYROCK — Prior to the season, Mossyrock volleyball coach Alex Nelson knew that if the Vikings were going to make it back to the state tournament, they would need to see growth from their younger players.

While there were questions about how they would replace a strong senior class from last year’s team, Nelson was confident in the group, saying they could get right back if they made the same improvements the program has always made.

On Friday, the Vikings proved Nelson right, showcasing their growth while punching a ticket to the state tournament for the seventh straight season with a 25-13, 25-12, 25-19 sweep of Naselle in the 1B District 4 semifinals.

“That’s very hard to do,” Nelson said. “These girls were told that this was a rebuilding year. And it was. But they have come back and improved a ton in one season. I’m really proud of them.

“They’ve made huge improvements, and they're not playing like young players any more."

Mossyrock struggled out of the gate, but they quickly kicked it into gear to run away with the first set.

Nelson said that while the slow start was frustrating, she knew that the girls would turn it around based on how they were flying around and trying to make plays.

“Even if you have a slow start, as long as you hustle it’ll come together,” Nelson said. 

In the second set, the Vikings were executing at a nearly flawless level, scoring 13 straight points to start the set.

Even when the Comets were playing at their highest level in the third and final set, the Vikings pulled away late to erase any doubt.

Erin Cournyer led the team with nine kills and four aces, Saydi Mendoza notched six kills, and Chesney Schultz and Adyson Barrows each tallied four. Delaney Marshall had three service aces. Passing and defensive stats were not reported.

In addition to clinching a state bid, the Vikings also advanced to the district title game, where they will take on Columbia Adventist in Montesano at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The Vikings have already topped the Kodiaks twice this season, including a recent sweep in their final league game of the season.