In the first half of the Greater Columbia 1B League volleyball action, defending champion Sunnyside Chris-tian emerged as the front runner in the race for the top position in next month’s district tournament.
The Knights went 5-0 in the first half against the competition from Klickitat, Lyle/-Wishram, Trout Lake, Bick-leton, and Yakama Tribal.
Klickitat ended its first half last week at 3-2, thanks to sweeps of Lyle/Wishram on Oct. 8 and Yakama Tribal on Oct. 11. Trout Lake (3-2) lost at Sunnyside Christian in three sets on the 8th, but rebounded in a big way on the 11th against Lyle/Wish-ram (2-3) with a straight-sets victory of its own.
At Trout Lake 3, Lyle/-Wishram 0: The Mustangs put forth their most consistent effort in terms of level of play and it resulted in 25-19, 25-22, 25-19 victories over the Cougars.
“The girls kept up their intensity through all three sets,” Mustangs Coach Angie Cox said. “Aggressive serving and better passing allowed the girls to run a solid offense but their outstanding defense, including 24 digs and four great saves, was the highlight.”
The offense generated 24 kills, led by McKinzie Wurtz’s eight. Abbie Ver-meire added five kills, Bey-yine Ozkan scored four, Mikayla Phillips and Peggy Reynoso each had two, and Ellie Van Laar notched one. Ozkan and Vermeire, moreover, played direct roles in 12 kills as each recorded six assists.
Cox also cited Ozkan and Phillips for their “near-perfect serve receive nights.” Each player had only two errors.
The visiting Cougars’ Kiya Childers and Winter Keeling-Burgin received near-perfect marks from the service line. Childers completed 7-of-8 serves with one ace, while Keeling-Burgin went 13 for 15 with three aces.
Ellie Smith played a dual role in the Cougars’ offense. She finished with a team-high six kills as a hitter and nine assists as a setter. Childers chipped in with two kills.
Klickitat 3, at Yakama Tribal 0: In Toppenish, the Vandals’ primary hitters combined for 28 kills in Klickitat’s 25-19, 25-14, 25-12 victories.
Tamaira Huffsmith powered up for a team-leading 11 kills, and Barbara Schlangen and Nicolle Oldfield each scored seven kills. Setter Makenzie Tuthilll tallied 10 assists.
Huffsmith’s serving also proved to be a potent weapon in keeping scoring runs going. She went 25 for 25 from the service line.
In junior varsity action, Klickitat split with Tribal, losing the first set, 25-14, then winning the second, 25-17.
At Klickitat 3, Lyle/Wish-ram 0: The Vandals capitalized on the Cougars’ un-forced errors in winning in straight sets, 25-8, 25-10, 25-9.
Tamaira Huffsmith registered six kills for Klickitat and Barbara Schlangen recorded four. KeeAndra Kessinger’s serving (14 for 14) also played a key role in the win.
Standouts for Lyle/Wish-ram were Mandy Solomon (4 kills, an ace, 100 percent serving), Lacy Carse (7-for-8 serving, 2 aces, 4 assists), and Caity Showalter (4-for-5 serving, 2 aces).
At Sunnyside Christian 3, Trout Lake 0: The Mustangs went down swinging against the Knights, losing by scores of 25-20, 25-14, 25-10.
Mustangs Coach Angie Cox provided a summary of Trout Lake’s performance in lieu of statistics.
“It was an exciting first set with the Trout Lake girls coming out strong on the serving line and playing aggressive defense. The girls were excited and worked really well together. Set 2 was also a good game with several long rallies that we were not able to win. But the girls hustled and found the court with several great hits. Set 3, however, found us struggling with serve receive and giving up too many points with bad passing. Overall, the girls played great.”