Columbia High went fishing for a victory last Thursday in its season and Trico Division volleyball opener.
But the visiting Ilwaco Fishermen cut bait on the Bruins after four sets, winning 25-14, 21-25, 25-12, 25-16.
First-year Bruins Coach Kevin Liddiard offered a tempered assessement of Columbia's first outing of the 2006 season.
"I was happy that we split the first two games," he said. "We had moments where the passing, setting and hitting looked in sync. We just had a few periods, especially when we faced a good server, when we lost focus and didn't pass as well as we can."
In the set they won, the Bruins spotted the Fishermen a 3-0 lead but came back to tie the score at 7-all.
Their first lead of the set came at 12-11. Four ties later, they took control of the set on a service ace by senior Brooke Hathaway that made it 17-15.
Columbia followed up with a four-point run that included a service ace by senior Michele Shrum. Ilwaco got within three points twice down the stretch (23-20, 24-21) but no closer.
CHS led once in the third set (5-4 to 7-5) but lost the lead at 8-7 on Ilwaco's second of three service aces in the set.
That serve started a game-changing four-point run by the Fishermen (1-0 in Trico, 1-2 overall), who followed up with a six-point run that extended their lead from 11-9 to 17-9. They finished off the set by scoring the final six points.
In the early going of the fourth set, Columbia held one-point advantages on five occasions. But an eight-point run by Ilwaco turned a 6-5 deficit into a 13-6 lead.
The closest the Bruins got after that was five points (16-11) as the Fishermen won nine of the last 14 points to avoid having to go to a fifth set on the road.
Even in defeat, however, Liddiard came away with reason for optimism.
"I feel confident if we can play more consistently, and reduce the other team's offensive runs to a point or two rather than four or five, we'll be competitive and go to five [sets] in the match," he said.
The Bruins (0-1, 0-1) host a Trico Division match against the Stevenson Bulldogs (1-0, 2-0) tonight in Miller Memorial Gym. The action starts with a junior varsity match at 5:45.