Elma’s Jalyn Sackrider (12) and Ella Moore defend a kill attempt from Castle Rock’s Jordyn Burks during Wednesday’s district playoff game in Montesano. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

Elma’s Jalyn Sackrider (12) and Ella Moore defend a kill attempt from Castle Rock’s Jordyn Burks during Wednesday’s district playoff game in Montesano. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

Wednesday Prep Roundup: Elma falls in five to Castle Rock

PREP VOLLEYBALL

1A District IV Tournament

Castle Rock 3, Elma 2

If the Elma Eagles volleyball team is to reach the state playoffs, they’ll have to do it the hard way.

Leading 2-1, the Eagles couldn’t close out the defending district champion Castle Rock in a five-set loss in the 2A District IV Tournament on Wednesday in Montesano.

Elma (12-3 overall), which suffered a regular-season loss to Castle Rock (13-3) back on Sept. 17, hoped to exact a little payback after the Rockets beat Forks in straight sets earlier in the day, advancing in the district tournament to face the Eagles, which earned a first-round bye.

The Eagles appeared out of sorts early in the first set, falling behind by as much as seven points against a playoff-tested Rockets team.

Elma began to regain its form later in the set, but never got closer than five points in dropping the first frame 25-18.

The Eagles fell behind as well in the second set, but rallied to tie the game at 10-10 as Elma made a concerted effort to run its offense through heavy-hitting middle blocker, Jalyn Sackrider.

And the 6-foot-3 senior came through, scoring 11 points on thunderous kills, change-of-pace drop shots and intimidating putback blocks to lead Elma to a 18-12 lead.

After Castle Rock rallied to cut the Eagles lead to 24-23 and tie the game at 25-all, Elma took the set 27-25 on after a drop shot on the net fell harmlessly on the Rockets’ side, setting off a roar from the mostly partisan Elma crowd.

The third game resembled the first two in that Elma fell behind early and had to play catch-up once again. After a Rockets serve went long, Elma tied the game at 13-13, and stayed within three points of the Rockets until Sackrider performed her magic yet again, blasting home a kill to cut Castle Rock’s lead to 18-17 followed by resounding block to tie the game at 18-18.

The two teams tied again at 20-20 before Elma pulled away, winning the set on a Rockets net error by a score of 25-20.

Elma head coach Kendra Dunn was impressed with the way Sackrider was able to assert her will and dominate the game.

“They had no answer for her at all,” Dunn said of Sackrider. “She’s unstoppable. When she’s on, she’s on and that was the case today. I said, ‘Let’s just feed the beast and keep letting her hit.’ (Castle Rock) was just single-blocking her. So we just took that and went with it. … That was the best game I’ve seen her play all year.”

Elma’s Jalyn Sackrider (12) records one of her game-high 25 kills in the Eagles’ five-set loss to Castle Rock in the 1A District IV Tournament on Wednesday in Montesano. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

Elma’s Jalyn Sackrider (12) records one of her game-high 25 kills in the Eagles’ five-set loss to Castle Rock in the 1A District IV Tournament on Wednesday in Montesano. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

Elma’s sluggish starts to games caused problems again in the fourth set, and the Rockets were about to make them pay. Castle Rock outside hitter Ranae Holter and middle blocker Jordyn Burks accounted for multiple kills and were helped by compounding Elma miscues as the Rockets took a 14-6 lead in the set, their largest lead of the match.

But the Eagles rallied. Down 23-15, Elma ran off seven straight points, cutting Castle Rock’s lead to 23-22 on a Sackrider block.

But a Burks drop shot followed by a Holter kill gave the set to Castle Rock 25-22, and tied the match at 2-2.

The fifth set remained close throughout, with the Eagles trailing the Rockets by no more than three points.

Elma tied the game at 10-10 on a kill by outside hitter Kali Rambo, but that was as close as the Eagles would get as Castle Rock scored five of the next seven points, winning the game 15-12 when an Elma reception sailed wide and out of bounds.

Sackrider ended the match with a game hie 25 kills and nine blocks to go along with 10 digs.

Setter Ella Moore had 38 assists in the game and outside hitter Quin Mikel had a double-double with 11 kills and 18 digs.

The loss eliminates the Eagles from district championship contention and Elma will have to win two consolation games to earn a spot in the state championships.

Dunn spoke about it with her team immediately after the disheartening defeat.

“I told them it’s OK to be frustrated because that was such a good game,” Dunn said. “But we’ve still got a lot left in us. … We’re going to keep fighting and playing our best.”

Elma will take on La Center, which lost in five sets to King’s Way Christian in Wednesday’s other district semifinal, in an elimination game at 1:30 p.m on Saturday at Castle Rock High School.

Castle Rock 25 25 22 25 15 — 3

Elma 18 27 25 22 12 — 2

Top Players: Elma — Sackrider (25 kills, 10 digs, 9 blocks); Moore (38 assists, 11 digs); Mikel (11 kills, 18 digs); Rambo (8 kills, 21 digs)

La Center 3, Montesano 0

Montesano fell to La Center in straight sets by scores of 32-30, 25-13 and 28-26 in a 1A District IV Tournament opening-round game on Wednesday at La Center High School.

The loss ends Montesano’s season with a record of 11-4.

No further information was available for this game at the time of this writing.

2B District IV Tournament

Northwest Christian 3, Ocosta 1

The Ocosta Wildcats were eliminated from postseason play after suffering a 3-2 loss to Northwest Christian in the consolation bracket of the 2B District IV Tournament on Wednesday at South Bend High School.

Playing without all-time school assist leader Emily Snider, who was unable to play due to illness, the Wildcats struggled to find any rhythm on offense in a 25-19, 17-25, 25-23 and 25-21 loss.

Layne Martin had 10 kills and went 16-for-16 in service with three aces to lead Ocosta (13-4).

Freshman Emily Scott filled in for Snider and had 12 assists in the contest.

“The girls played with heart tonight and gave it all they had,” said Ocosta head coach Barbara Rasmus, who coached her final game after 29 years at the helm of the Wildcats with Wednesday’s defeat. “They tried their best to adjust with the lineup changes tonight and I am proud of how they played.”

Northwest Christian 25 17 25 25 — 3

Ocosta 19 25 23 21 — 1

Top Players: Ocosta — Martin (10 kills, 16-16 service, 3 aces); Scott (12 assists); Kiana Morrow (5 kills, 5 blocks); Lillyan Barnum (5 kills, 22 digs); Evalyn Marsh (15-15 service); Sara Packard (20-20 service)

Willapa Valley advances in consolation bracket

The Willapa Valley Vikings advanced to the 2B District IV Tournament consolation semifinal after defeating Onalaska 3-0 and Napavine 3-1 on Thursday at Willapa Valley High School.

The Vikings will face Toutle Lake, which lost to Mossyrock in straight sets in the semifinals, at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Raymond High School.

Toledo 3, Raymond 1

Raymond’s season ended with a 3-1 loss to Toledo in the consolation bracket of the 2B District IV Tournament on Wednesday at South Bend High School.

No further information was available for this game at the time of this writing.