More than two hours after opening the match with three consecutive aces, Elma had enough left to win Round One in its volleyball rivalry with Hoquiam.
Taking four of the final five points, the Eagles outlasted the Grizzlies, 25-17, 25-18, 20-25, 24-26, 15-12, in an Evergreen 1A League contest Thursday at Hoquiam Square Garden.
Junior setter Kenna Stoney dished out 33 assists to go with nine kills for Elma (2-1, 4-5). Jalyn Sackrider led Eagle hitters with 11 kills, while Ana Perez had 32 digs for the winners.
Kamimi Papp topped the Grizzlies (1-2, 3-7) with 16 kills, eight more than teammate Karlie Krohn. Paige Folkers had 23 assists and reserve Angelica Wells 13 assists for Hoquiam.
This was a match played in three distinct acts.
Kali Rambo’s match-opening three aces set the tone for the first two sets. Finding the range with well-placed tips and dumps and capitalizing on Hoquiam return errors and communication breakdowns, the Eagles controlled those sets even more decisively than the scores indicated.
The Grizzlies, however, shored up what had been shaky defense while the young Eagles began misfiring on serves and hits in the third and fourth sets. Elma missed its last three serves of the third stanza.
Although never ahead in the fourth set, the Eagles tied at 24 on an HHS error. The Grizzlies pulled out the set, however, when Mercedes Pinnell converted a Folkers set and Elma couldn’t handle a Krohn tip.
The fifth set was a seesaw affair. Perez served four consecutive points to lift Elma to a 7-4 lead. Hoquiam then rallied to forge an 11-all standoff.
Elma freshman Quin Mikel dug up a Hoquiam hit to prolong a point eventually won by Kaylee Rambo’s kill. A Grizzly error gave the Eagles a 13-11 advantage.
Papp’s kill cut the margin to one. But a carrying violation gave the Eagles match point and a Hoquiam hitting error ended matters.
“They had a tough time (in the third and fourth sets). But they came out with a lot of energy (in the fifth) and played as a team,” Elma coach Kendra Henry said.
Hoquiam coach Heather Bozich said her team dug too deep of a hole.
“When you make that many mental errors, missed serves and mental mistakes, you don’t win games,” she emphasized. “We were playing too soft at the net and we have a lot of things to work on to get better.”
Serving, in fact, was an issue for both clubs. The Eagles missed 13 serves, while the Grizzlies failed to put 10 in play.
Hoquiam digs were not available, but Bozich cited libero Ashley Paladin for her defensive efforts.
The Grizzlies won the JV match, 25-17, 25-6. Montesano topped Hoquiam’s C squad, 22-25, 25-22, 15-10, in the umpteenth meeting of these clubs.
The Eagles host Forks on Tuesday. The Grizzlies travel to Tenino for a rare Wednesday match.