Holding leads in each of the first two sets before dropping both, the Napavine volleyball team nearly overcame a two-set deficit, before finally falling to Toutle Lake at home Wednesday night in five sets, 25-20, 25-20, 13-25, 18-25, 15-13.
“We were way up in the first and second set, and the girls backed off on their aggression, and Toutle chipped away,” Tigers coach Monica Dailey said. “They’re a good team and we’re pretty comparable.”
Struggling on serve-receive, the Tigers let the Ducks back into each of the first two games before digging themselves into a two-set hole on their senior night.
Then Napavine’s dominance began to show again, winning two decisive sets to force a fifth.
“We could’ve rolled over but we fought hard, they really wanted to win,” Dailey said.
In the fifth set, the Tigers got behind 4-1 early, fought their way back to a 12-11 deficit, before a substitution error by the Ducks halted the game for nearly five minutes after the Ducks libero exited the floor and re-entered as the server on the same point.
The game continued without a point either way, and the Ducks rode out a 15-13 win to clinch league runner-up status. The Tigers clinched the fourth-best record and a trip to Raymond for the district tournament on Saturday.
“The girls fought hard,” Dailey said. “At the end of the day we got beat, but I’m proud of them for fighting hard and never giving up.”
On her senior night, Morgan Hamilton — the lone Napavine senior — played focused and had one of her best nights at the net. The senior had 16 kills and 18 digs in a standout showing for the Tigers.
“She played one of her best nights at the net, she was a beast,” Dailey said. “Most seniors have a tendency to get emotional, but she was prepared and focused, she did a great job.”
Keira O’Neill added 5 aces, 14 kills, and four blocks, and Anna Thompson and Jessie McCoy added two blocks at the net. McCoy also dished out 17 assists and served 100%.
Avery Schutz added 10 assists at the other setter position and Emily Kang dug up 20 digs in the back row. Grace Gall dug up 27 balls herself and also scorched 5 kills past the Ducks.