Tuesday’s Prep Volleyball: Bearcats Beat Rochester, Win One for the Gipper

By The Chronicle

ROCHESTER — W.F. West went to battle without their head coach here Tuesday night and lived to tell the tale, thanks to a five set win over Rochester. While their head coach, Emily Mora, was in the hospital due to a sudden illness, the Bearcats managed to post scores of 25-11, 23-25, 17-25, 25-18, and 15-12 to secure the win.

“Emily is alright,” said Halee Karnofski, the W.F. West junior varsity coach who took over the reigns for at least one night. “I’m just super proud of the team for pulling out the win under such adverse circumstances like missing their head coach. They were playing for Coach Mora tonight.”

Payge Crawford had a pair of hands in that big win as she set a school record with 49 digs in the match. That new mark breaks the former record of 31 digs set by Ashlyn Whalen in the Bearcats’ previous match.

On Tuesday Whalen turned in a team-high 11 kills while Sophia DeTray added nine kills. Drea Brumfield led W.F. West with with four blocks.

Karnofski noted that Paytton Crawford was also essential to the Bearcats’ win with a bevy of assists and hustle plays to her credit, especially during the fifth set.

“We always talk about the team who wins is the first to adjust. Rochester started adjusting to our game plan and we weren’t adjusting quick enough. After that loss we adjusted to their adjustment. And we’re lucky we did so we were able to secure that fourth and fifth win,” said Karnofski.

W.F. West (4-9, 4-5 league) will host Centralia on Thursday in a match that could determine which team finishes third in the 2A Evergreen Conference.

Tigers Can’t Tame T-Birds

Tumwater registered a sweep over the Tigers here on Thursday in 2A Evergreen Conference volleyball play thanks to scores of 25-21, 26-24 and 25-12.

Centralia coach Marti Smith wasn’t disappointed in her team so much as she was impressed by the lockstep defense of the Thunderbirds.

“It’s their consistency. We don’t have a lot of hitting stats and that’s just the way it is with Tumwater. They line up defensively and they make it really difficult to get a kill. They cover and communicate well,” said Smith. “Between them and Black Hills they are both two real solid teams. They’ll represent us well at Districts.”

Kennedy Strophy had the most well-rounded night for Centralia with five digs, three kills, two blocks and three aces to compliment a perfect night serving on 11 attempts. Jadyn Hawley added 16 digs and five kills while connecting on all nine of her serves. Kylie Sharp added 16 digs while Madison Stoeckler contributed 11 digs.

“I thought we did a really good job in the first two sets against them. We played some solid defense and made it hard on them. We didn’t give up any easy points and I think we proved a point to ourselves that we can hang with them,” said Smith. “The third set, it wasn’t a lack of effort by any means. We just stopped doing the little things.”

Smith noted that her team will face W.F. West on Thursday as both teams angle for the third spot in the EvCo. The fourth place team will be forced to play the fifth place team from the Greater Saint Helens League in a pigtail playoff game in order to qualify for the district tournament.

“There’s going to be something at stake there Thursday night. Now, not only do you have the rivalry game but you’ve got playoff seeding as well,” said Smith. “It’ll be a barn burner I’m sure.”

Centralia (5-8, 4-5) will play at W.F. West on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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