Thursday’s Prep Volleyball: Bearcats Sweep Tigers to Claim Third Place in EvCo
High Stakes Rivalry: Loss Sets Centralia Up with Hockinson in Pigtail Playoff
By Jordan Nailon
A regular old rivalry game carried extra implications here tonight as W.F. West hosted Centralia in order to determine which team would take the final guaranteed spot to the district tournament.
The 2A Evergreen Conference volleyball match, which was a regular season finale for both teams, wound up tipping in favor of the Bearcats as the home team claimed the sweep with scores of 25-21, 25-17, and 25-16. The win gives W.F. West a third place finish in the EvCo and a date with Columbia River in the first round of the district tournament. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ loss leaves them in fourth place in the conference and destined for a pigtail playoff matchup against Hockinson, the fifth place team from the Greater St. Helens League, in order to claim the final spot into the double-elimination tournament.
“No one wants to be in that situation where your season comes down to one game,” noted W.F. West coach Emily Mora.
The contest doubled as senior night for the Bearcats who boast five seniors on this year’s squad and those veteran players did not disappoint. Sophia DeTray posted three aces and seven kills in the win while Paytton Crawford notched five aces and Payge Crawford totaled 16 digs. Faith Thomas was perfect from the serving stripe and Ashlyn Whalen posted a team high 13 kills.
The Bearcats never trailed late in any of the sets and continually found a way to put the clamps on any Centralia scoring runs. Ava Olsen helped W.F. West secure their playoff positioning with a perfect night serving while Sydney VonMoos chipped in six kills. Anna White and and Drea Brumfield each turned in two blocks each.
“I think that our team has grown a ton with both skills and emotionally. In the beginning of this season, we had a hard time getting traction and now we’re playing better volleyball toward the end of the season, which is always the goal,” said Mora. “In practices and games, everything, they’re performing at a higher level than they were at the beginning and going into districts, we expect that same growth. We’ve still got one week to get better.”
Meanwhile, after holding brief early leads in all three sets, the Tigers had to watch as their hopes of an automatic bid to the district tournament evaporated.
“The girls would be the first to admit tonight that this was definitely not their best volleyball. We’ve played better. We beat ourselves tonight. We had too many hitting errors and service errors when we’re trying to climb back into a set,” said Centralia coach Marti Smith, who noted that her team tallied 20 hitting errors in the loss. “W.F. West came out with way more energy.”
Kylie Sharp did her best to keep the Tigers competitive with 17 digs and a perfect night at the service stripe on nine attempts. Madison Stoeckler added 10 digs in the loss and Hailey Brann chipped in five kills. Jadyn Hawley also had five kills to go with a perfect serving night on a dozen attempts.
“The good news is that we haven’t even played our best volleyball yet. If there’s anytime to bring that out it’s going to be Tuesday. We can play our best volleyball on our own home court and
prove to ourselves that we deserve to be in the mix.”
Centralia (5-9, 4-6 league) will host Hockinson on Tuesday to determine the final spot to the district playoffs. W.F. West will play Columbia River on Thursday at Black Hills for a spot in the semifinals.