Vikings Sweep in Semis, Get Another Crack at Oakesdale


YAKIMA — The Mossyrock volleyball team is right back where it wants to be.

The Vikings took half a set to get going, but came back firing to sweep No. 3 Mary Walker 25-20, 25-12, 25-18 in the 1B semifinals to punch their ticket to the state title game.

“We are back,” head coach Alex Nelson said. “It’s a good place to be. It’s very hard to come over here and have a winning record, and we have that right now. I’m very proud of the girls.”

There, Mossyrock will match up with No. 1 Oakesdale, the top-ranked, defending state champions of the brackets, a year after falling to the Nighthawks in five sets in last year’s championship game.

This time around, they’re looking for a different result, and after two easy sweeps Thursday, Nelson is hoping that the close start the Vikings faced against the Chargers in their semifinal will prove helpful in the match that matters.

“When you get to this point, you’ve got to be okay with giving up a few points and not being disappointed,” she said. “Our girls would look over at us, and they want to get to everything, but sometimes it’s just a good hit, and we need to respond well to it and answer back. And we did.”

Payton Torrey is heating up at just the right time for Mossyrock, putting down 20 kills to lead the offense in just three sets.

“I think Payton really took over this game and hit extremely well,” Nelson said.

Hailey Brooks added eight kills and a team-best 19 digs. Caelyn Marshall had four aces, and both she and Erin Cournyer posted 17 assists.

Now, there’s just a maximum of five sets for the Vikings, who are looking for their first state title after placing second or third in each of the past five postseasons.

It’s cards-on-the-table time for Mossyrock, with one more test against the best the state has to offer.

“We want the stronger start in the beginning, which we’ve struggled with,” Nelson said. “But also just winning the serve and serve-receive game, which I feel we’re doing, and not losing that intensity when they have some good runs, which they will.”