The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Goldendale volleyball remains undefeated after five-set win over Granger

 

September 27, 2017

Jaryd Cline

Senior Abby Mains bumps the ball during Goldendale's win over Granger on Tuesday night.

For what's shaping up to be a tough volleyball season in the South Central Athletic Conference West, head coach Jodi Bellamy and the Goldendale Timberwolves are rolling to start league play this season.

After winning in four sets on the road over the Zillah Leopards, the Timberwolves knocked off last year's league champs Naches in five thrilling sets last Tuesday before sweeping La Salle on the road last Thursday to begin undefeated in league play.

The Timberwolves made it 4-0 in SCAC West play after another exciting five-set win (25-21, 28-26, 18-25, 22-25, and 15-11) at home Tuesday night against the Granger Spartans, finishing strong in the decisive set after jumping out to a 2-0 set lead.

The Timberwolves jumped out on top in the first set and didn't look back after going up 3-0 and leading nearly the entire rest of the way. They were great receiving serves which led to a handful of easy kills that the Wolves put away.

Granger threatened in the first when it took its only lead at 10-9, but after an Abby Mains tip that found the floor, and three aces from the senior, Goldendale regained the lead and closed the Spartans out.

The teams traded leads throughout the second set until Mains recorded two of her game-high 30 kills on back-to-back plays, giving Goldendale the lead at 19-18 and forcing a Granger timeout.

Granger didn't retake the lead in the set, but tied the score six times before a kill from senior Allison Gilliam gave the Wolves the two-point lead they needed at 28-26.

Granger bounced back in the third and fourth though, playing its solid defense that makes the Spartans tough to put away. They pulled away in the third, breaking away after an 11-11 tie before taking the set 25-18 and escaped with a 25-22 win a fourth set in which the teams battled within a point of each other for most of the set.

The Timberwolves, playing in a fifth set for the second time in third games, remained composed and collected after falling behind 7-8. They rolled off eight of the next 11 points to rally past the Spartans, much like they did a week earlier at home against the Rangers.

It was a big day setting the ball for Plum, who added to her total as Goldendale's all-time assist leader with 53 on Tuesday night while the team had contributions from everyone.

Goldendale had a great night at the service line from senior Talia Johnson, who connected on 20-21 serves. Gilliam (18-19) and freshman Taylor Rising (8-9) also were accurate from the line, while Mains and Junior Tori Tallman combined for nine service aces.

The Timberwolves also were set up throughout the match with great passing, with 25 perfect passes coming from sophomore Alyssa Weis, 21 from Johnson, and 17 from Gilliam.

After Mains' game-high 30 kills, Tallman (11), Gilliam (10), and Rising (6) paced the team, and sophomore Delaney Peters also had a big kill late in the first set.

After Tuesday's win, Goldendale remained atop the SCAC leaderboard at 4-0, with La Salle in second at 4-1. Naches sits in third at 3-1, Granger fourth at 2-2, Zillah and Cle Elum tied for fifth at 1-3, and Highland seventh at 0-5.

Last week

In Goldendale's home opening contest against the Rangers on Sept. 19, the Wolves took the opening set but dropped the second and third sets after holding late leads.

The Wolves, however, were unfazed by the deficit. Trailing by as many as four points early in the fourth set, they took a 22-17 lead only to watch the Rangers storm back and tie the set at 22. Goldendale put a halt to Naches' rally, running off three straight points to take the set and force the deciding fifth.

Playing to 15 in the fifth, the Timberwolves trailed by as many as four points on two occasions, and fell behind 11-13 as the Rangers thought they were about to steal a league win on the road.

But again the Wolves, with little room for error, shook off the deficit and scored two straight to tie the set at 13. Junior Tori Tallman's ace gave Goldendale its first lead in the set since going ahead 3-2, and senior Abby Mains finished off the Rangers with a clutch kill that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

"It was a great comeback," Bellamy said. "Allison Gilliam led the charge there. That was really great to see her lead the charge in that comeback."

Mains had 19 kills over the five sets and Gilliam also had 19 kills, which was a new career high for the senior. Standing at 5-foot-6, Gilliam used her great leaping ability to sky high for kills, but also to block a handful of Ranger shots at the net as well.

Against the Lightning last Thursday, Goldendale served 98 percent (64-65) in the three-set sweep to remain unbeaten on the season.

The team has been boosted this year by a strong senior class of six girls, who've been playing at a different level lately.

"I'm really proud of the seniors for stepping up," Bellamy said. "Also, it's fun to see the younger kids ... and see them all stepping up. It's just fun to watch them do the things you're practicing. To get out there and play with confidence, it's a joy for a coach to get to watch that. I'm enjoying watching them play as a group."

Those seniors and the rest of the group played a tough match in the win over Granger on Tuesday, and have been locked in and always improving in practice.

The volleyball practices are a grind day in and day out, but the girls are there every day to continue improving as not only individuals, but also as a team.

Jaryd Cline

Sophomore Alyssa Weis was strong in the back row for the Timberwolves with 25 perfect passes and 23 digs against the Rangers on Tuesday.

"(Practice) is where all 14 of them are battling every day and we have great value in our whole team battling, all 14 of them in practice. I really take my hat off to all of them for the battles that they bring daily to practice to help everybody get better and that they're accepting their roles and embracing their roles and realizing it's team first and it's pretty exciting to watch. I've seen a lot of growth in many areas with all the kids."

The Timberwolves are off on Thursday, but leave for Spokane on Friday for Saturday's Spokane Crossover Tournament.

It's a 64-team tournament with teams from six different states with schools ranging from Class 1B to Class 4A.

"It's pretty fun," Bellamy said. "It's a chance for us to get to play those big schools that we never get to play."

 

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