Hermiston was pushed to the limit in the third game of its match against The Dalles Wahtonka, losing what was an large cushion.
TDW had three chances to force a fourth game, but the Bulldogs stayed alive using a kill by Noa Ena, followed by a Tribe error and violation to close out the match in a sweep by a 29-27 score in Tuesday’s Columbia River Conference volleyball match in The Dalles.
“We have to be proud of ourselves,” said TDW setter Morgan Goslin. “We came back from 10 points down. I thought we played together really well in the third set.”
Early on, it appeared as though a sweep would be a foregone conclusion.
Hermiston won the opening game, 25-17, and in the second frame, they held leads of 6-4, 17-14 and 24-18 before a block from Shelby Sanders put the final points in a 25-20 decision.
Brea Kestler felt the communication and execution was much better Tuesday – a far cry from the last time Hermiston visited The Dalles on Sept. 19 where they fell behind 2-0 until winning in five games.
“We finally got our heads in the right place and played like we know we could,” said Kestler, who had six kills, 20 assists and went 12 of 13 from the service line with two aces. “We know we can’t start slow, so we came out today ready to play and got the job done.”
Added to Kestler’s numbers, Ena had five kills, Hannah Mabbott notched eight blocks and Shay Kennison added 12 digs.
For TDW, Goslin had 18 assists and a kill, Olivia Starks was good for 11 kills, and Morgan Triperinas scored 12 of 18 on digs.
From the service line, Starks and Lori Cimmiyotti went a combined 31 of 32 with four aces.
Even though TDW is in the midst of a 10-match losing skid, Tribe coach Amy Schwartz wants to see her group finish on a successful note in their final two matches, so they could build up some steam for next year and beyond.
“My goal is for them to take it from here and get better and better,” the coach said. “I want them to want to lessen their mental mistakes. That is what is keeping them out of the game, is their own mistakes. They can play with anyone. Next year, my hope is that they are a little bit older and wiser and play like up to their potential.”
Goslin, in her first full season as a setter, knows this team is capable of much better.
With as many as eight coming back on the roster next year, a consensus feeling is to get the program back to its winning ways.
“We have to work together. That is the main key,” Goslin said. “Everything is there for us to be successful. As long as we get our passes, sets, hits and blocks, we can beat teams. We just have to believe, play with heart and keep doing what we are doing until our last set.”
TDW is at Pendleton for a 5 p.m. league match on Thursday night.