The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline

Goldendale volleyball hangs on against Leopards, hosts No. 9 Granger


Jaryd Cline

ABOVE THE NET: Goldendale junior Allison Gilliam attempts to spike the ball while junior Sierra Plum watches on Thursday against Naches.

The Goldendale Timberwolves got some revenge against the Zillah Leopards on Oct. 11 in a five set thriller, but had their six match regular season win streak snapped two days later by the Naches Rangers, the top team in the South Central Athletic Conference West.

Facing the only two SCAC West teams they hadn't beaten last week, the Timberwolves, led by 32 kills from senior Ocean Bryan and 48 assists from junior Sierra Plum, were able to hold off a furious Zillah comeback in the match that went the full five (25-21, 25-15, 19-25, 22-25, 15-12) sets.

The Wolves took advantage of a struggling Zillah team in the first two sets before the Leopards picked up their play.

"They started playing a little better and we started making a few mistakes," Goldendale head coach Jodi Bellamy said of the match against Zillah. "And in volleyball it can turn around in a heartbeat."

And that's what happened. After Goldendale went up 2-0 and looked on its way to the win, Zillah clamped down and eventually forced a fifth set. But the Wolves didn't break, they dug deep, played as a team and held off the Leopards in the final set.

"For them to show the mental toughness and togetherness they showed, was great," Bellamy said.

The Leopards handed Goldendale its first loss on Sept. 15, the Timberwolves second game of the season.

Last Thursday in Goldendale, the sizzling Naches Rangers beat the Timberwolves for the second time this season. The lanky Rangers were a handful for the Timberwolves at the net and held the home team to a .080 kill percentage.

With three girls listed at 6-feet or taller on Naches, the Wolves had problems putting home kills and defending the Rangers' attack.

"We're blessed," Naches head coach Sherri Partlow said. "We're blessed with size this year and they work really hard."

The Rangers came into Goldendale and quieted the rowdy crowd, sweeping the Wolves (17-25, 14-25, 13-25), for the second time this year.

"Goldendale is very competitive and we love to play competitive volleyball," Partlow said. "Usually the crowd is louder but we kind of shut them down (Thursday night). It's a great place to play. They have a great atmosphere here."

The Rangers held Bryan and the rest of the Goldendale attack in check, limiting the Wolves to just 23 kills. Bryan accounted for 13 of the kills while Plum led the Timberwolves with 20 assists and 10 digs.

This week's games

The Timberwolves again face a crucial week of volleyball. After facing the top two teams in the conference last week, they played the La Salle Lightning on Tuesday (results unavailable at press time) and meet the Granger Spartans at home on Thursday.

The Lightning sit at fifth place in the SCAC West at 3-5 in conference play, and the Spartans are in a third place tie with the Wolves at 5-3 as of Tuesday morning.

The Spartans also are the state's No. 9 ranked team as voted on by the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association.

"Well coached. Scrappy. They keep the ball in play a lot," Bellamy said of the Spartans. "They don't make a lot of mistakes. They're great on defense and they serve really well."

The Spartans don't have the size up front Naches has, and Goldendale's hitters took advantage in the team's last meeting on Sept. 27. Bryan and outside hitter Abigail Mains combined for 45 kills as the Wolves won in five sets.

After playing the Lightning and Spartans, the Wolves head north for their second matchup with the Cle Elum Warriors on Saturday. The Warriors are 1-8 in SCAC West play and lost in three sets to Goldendale on Oct. 1.


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