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By Jaryd Cline

Goldendale meets top two SCAC teams Timberwolves face only league teams they haven't beaten; Zillah and Naches


Jaryd Cline

CENTER STAGE: Senior outside hitter Ocean Bryan bumps the ball as the rest of the Goldendale spikers look on during Thursday's sweep of the Kittitas Coyotes in the Goldendale High School gym.

Goldendale volleyball head coach Jodi Bellamy knew her team didn't play to the best of its abilities against the Zillah Leopards in the teams' first meeting on Sept. 15.

After all, it was just the Timberwolves second game of the season and Bellamy was still shuffling through rotations trying to find the team's best lineup.

The Timberwolves took the Leopards to five sets, but couldn't finish them off in the early season thriller at Goldendale High School.

"We didn't execute our best ... We're going to have to function as a unit much better," Bellamy said.

The Timberwolves, at 4-2 in South Central Athletic Conference West play, took the court against the Leopards (5-1 SCAC West) Tuesday evening, although results were unavailable at press time.

Sorry to leave all you readers hanging without the scores and statistics, but I can tell you that the Timberwolves were ready for their SCAC rival.

"Confident and excited," were the few words Bellamy used to describe her team Tuesday morning before the team took the bus to Zillah.

The Wolves would move into a tie with the Leopards for second place in the SCAC West standings with a win on Tuesday, while a loss would drop them into a tie for third place with Granger, who didn't play Tuesday.

Goldendale, which swept Kittitas (25-18, 25-13, 25-17) in a nonleague contest on Thursday, had the weekend off for the first time this season after a tough, intense practice Friday. They took the court for a light practice on Monday before making the trip to Zillah.

After facing the second place Leopards on Tuesday, it doesn't get any easier for the Timberwolves, who return home for a Thursday matchup with the Naches Valley Rangers, the top team in the SCAC West and the No. 8 ranked team according to the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association.

"You're always excited to play somebody who's in a state ranking," Bellamy said of the Rangers.

The Rangers (12-2 overall, 7-0 SCAC West) have been on a tear this season. They haven't lost in SCAC play and their only losses this season came against Class 4A West Valley and Cascade, the No. 1 ranked WSVCA Class 1A team.

The Rangers, led by Makala Swart, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter who earned SCAC co-MVP honors last season, are the reigning SCAC West champs and travel to Goldendale looking to keep their perfect league mark alive.

That will be no easy task. The Wolves are surging as well having not lost since they played the Rangers on Sept. 20 at Naches. The Wolves also will have a little home cooking on Thursday.

"Playing in our own gym is the best home court advantage I think in the league," Bellamy said. "Nobody likes to come here to play. (Coaches) always tell me that."

Naches will hope to counter Goldendale's crowd with its size. The Rangers, with several girls listed at 6-feet or taller, have been a matchup nightmare at the net all season for opponents.

As for the Timberwolves, if they come out and follow their game plan, it will be a fun and exciting match.

"I think the kids are ready to go out and execute and just to go play hard and have fun playing the game they love," Bellamy said.


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