The Montesano Bulldogs rallied to win the final two games to open the season with a thrilling 3-2 victory over WF West on Tuesday in Montesano.
Monte (1-0 overall) won the first game 25-16 before losing games two and three by scores of 25-13 and 25-21.
One game away from dropping its season-opener in front of a the largest home crowd they’ve seen in nearly two years, the Bulldogs went on a 6-1 point streak to close out Game 4 25-19 and then held off a late Bearcats rally to close out the fifth game 15-12, thus securing the 3-2 victory.
“We’re adjusting to each other,” Montesano head coach Pat Pace said, noting that after the graduation of five seniors from last season’s league-championship team, the Bulldogs have many new faces playing key roles. “I think it basically came down to who could last longer and who was in better shape, not saying they are not in shape, but our girls did suck it up there in the end and started playing better.”
Monte gained five-point leads twice in the final game before WF West closed the gap to rally each time, including coming to within a point at 11-10.
Pace called timeouts in each instance in order to settle his team and have them refocus. The strategy paid off as Montesano limited its mistakes over the waning minutes of the contest while WF West committed errors, including a net error that ended the game.
“Our biggest thing is going to be passing all year,” he said. “We’ve got the hitters … we’ve just got to get the ball to them. So it’s just relax, take a deep breath, give a good platform and make a good pass. That’s all we said (during the timeouts).”
Pace believes his team made a statement in the season-opener.
“I think what it really marked for us is that we are getting that attitude that we are not giving up,” he said. “The one thing we ask them to do is don’t get tentative and don’t start playing with fear. Swing like you would if it’s a 0-0 ballgame and they did that. This team might not have that fear-factor in them.”
Ashlyn Devereaux and Landree Dohrmann led the way for 16 digs apiece while McKynnlie Dalan (7 blocks, 2 assists) and Addie Winter (4 blocks, 3 assists) held a presence at the net for the Bulldogs.
Hoquiam 3, Aberdeen 0
Hoquiam breezed through the first two sets before battling in the third to earn a straight-set victory over Aberdeen on Tuesday at Hoquiam Square Garden.
The Grizzlies (1-0 overall) cruised through the first two games by scores of 25-11 and 25-7, thanks in large party to Ashlinn Cady, who was 27-for-27 on service in the victory, forcing the Bobcats (0-1) to play out of system in the process.
After getting off to a slow start, Aberdeen rallied to make it a more competitive third set, but eventually fell to Hoquiam 25-22.
In addition to Cady, Hoquiam was led by Ella Folkers (21 assists), Graci Bonney-Spradlin (10 digs) and Chloe Kennedy, who had 12 kills on 17 attempts.
“Overall, it was a good start to the season,” Hoquiam head coach Heather Bozich said. “It was good to see what we need to work on and I’m excited to build on this and see where this team can go.”
Elma 3, Rochester 0
The Elma Eagles opened the season with a hard-fought victory in straight sets over Rochester on Tuesday at Rochester High School.
The Eagles (1-0 overall) won 25-16, 26-24 and 25-23.
Elma was led by Brooklyne Swarts and Hannah Warren, each of whom had five kills and three aces.
Aubrey Moore added four aces for Elma.
“I’m really proud of how well the team played,” Elma head coach Kendra Dunn said. “We served very well tonight. Our team kept their energy high and fought hard each match. It was a great start to our season.”
Elma’s C-team won 25-16 and 29-27 while the Eagles JV team fell 11-25, 25-18 and 14-16.
Raymond 3, Onalaska 0
Raymond showed why it appears to be one of the better 2B teams in the district this season with a convincing straight-set victory over Onalaska on Tuesday at Onalaska High School.
The Seagulls (1-0 overall) won 25-15, 25-10 and 25-17.
Raymond was led by freshman Karsyn Freeman, who had 10 kills, 16 digs and three aces on the evening.
“Her serving was spot on tonight and she kept Ony out of system with almost every serve,” Raymond head coach Bob Swogger said of his standout freshman’s play.
Kyra Gardner added nine kills for Raymond while libero Kyndal Koski led the Seagulls with 15 digs.
Sidney Swogger had eight aces to lead Raymond to go along with her two kills.
“Overall, we had a good team effort and played well in all aspects of the game,” Coach Swogger said.
Raymond’s JV team won 25-12 and 25-15, with Cadence Swogger being noted for having a “great night serving.”
Naselle 3, Ocosta 0
Lacking some key returning starters and experience, Ocosta opened the season with a straight-set loss to Naselle on Tuesday in Westport.
The Wildcats (0-1 overall) fell 25-13, 25-21 and 25-21.
“Tonight was a good experience for a team made up of mostly freshman and sophomores,” Ocosta head coach Erin Snider said. “My young group did a good job communicating and making smart decisions with the ball.”
Brynn Rasmus had 12 assists for Ocosta while Samantha Schlegel (6 kills), Alexia Bradley (5 kills, 6 blocks) and Annika Hollingsworth (3 kills, 3 blocks) led the team in kills.
Freshman Noel Cuzdey led the Wildcats with eight digs.