Vikings earn seventh straight top-three finish


YAKIMA — For the seventh consecutive season, the Mossyrock volleyball team earned a top-three placement at the state tournament, bouncing back from a semifinal loss to Neah Bay with a 25-20, 17-25, 25-20, 25-21 win over Almira-Coulee-Hartline in the third-place game on Thursday night.

Mossyrock coach Alex Nelson was proud of the way her girls bounced back from the loss, specifically how they were able to let go of the mistakes from the first match.

“After you have the disappointment of not making it and being so close to the championship, it’s really hard to come back,” Nelson said. “You don’t want to go out with a loss … I’m very proud of them.”

While a top-three finish is nothing new for the Vikings, Nelson was especially pleased with this year’s group, noting that they had some big shoes to fill from last year’s team, including 2022 All-Area MVP Payton Torrey.

She said that over the course of the season, this group made tremendous strides, something that only excites her even more looking to the future.

“To improve the way we did this in season,” Nelson said, before stopping and smiling. “Once you taste success, then you really want to improve even more. And they definitely tasted success. I think I have a lot of people excited to get better.”

It certainly didn’t come easy against ACH, but the Vikings were in control for large portions of the match, including to start the third set.

After the Warriors tied the match at one set each, the Vikings went on an 8-0 run to open up a 9-1 lead, sparked in large part by three aces from Adyson Barrows.

“Huge serving in this last game,” Nelson said, while adding it wasn't just Barrows who found success from the service line. “We gave them areas to hit, and they were on target. Erin (Cournyer), Adyson and Delaney (Marshall) hit the spots they were given.”

The team’s overall composure also stood out to Nelson, as she noted that the lights didn’t seem too bright, even in that semifinal loss.

“That’s hard to do when you’re excited and it’s high stakes,” Nelson said. “I would call that a mature way to behave, and that’s what they did.”

The Vikings finish the season 18-4 and are set to graduate three seniors: Arleth Villalba, Abbie Lovan and Gwynn Armstrong.