Led by a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by sophomore Timarra Roth, The Dalles Wahtonka Eagle Indians ended their 2013 campaign with a dramatic five-game triumph over Hood River Valley high School on senior night Tuesday in The Dalles.
“I think they had that will to win,” said Tribe head coach Amy Schwartz. “They wanted to win their last match of the season. They wanted to win more during the season, but tonight, they really wanted it. They played together very well.”
TDW overcame a 2-1 deficit with back-to-back wins in the fourth and fifth games, finding the plays to make when it mattered most.
With 15 points standing in the way of their second non-tournament win of the season, TDW did not trail in the fifth game.
There were six ties and seven lead changes in the decisive fifth game, until a kill shot by Morgan Goslin started a 4-0 spurt to swell the Tribe advantage to 12-7.
In that rally, Lori Cimmiyotti had two kills and Hood River committed a hitting error.
With the score 12-8, Hood River reeled off three consecutive points to pull to within 12-11.
A block, a serve error and an emphatic kill by Olivia Starks ended the match by a 15-11 margin and gave TDW the five-game win.
“We won time before this season, so to make it on senior night, my last match, a win, is a great feeling,” said senior Danielle Perry.
Hood River won the opening game by a 25-21 score, but then TDW battled back to even things at 1-apiece after a 25-17 decision.
The visiting Eagles restored order in the third game to slug out a 25-18 winner to take a 2-1 lead and were within striking distance in the fourth set to steal a win.
In the fourth game, TDW fell behind by an 18-17 score, but then turned the tide with a 5-1 run to lead 22-19, as Olivia Starks had a block kill to cap the surge.
Hood River inched to within a 23-22 tally, but Starks added another kill to make it 24-22 and HRV tacked on two more points to tie things up at 24-all.
Cimmiyotti laced home a kill and on the ensuing serve, Hood River was called for a violation awarding TDW a point for a 26-24 win to force a fifth game.
“I thought we played a great match. We never gave up,” said senior libero Morgan Triperinas. “I like that we showed heart out there.”
Starks ended the night with a team-high 23 kills. The junior added a 22 for 28 split on digs, went 18 of 22 on serve-receive and had a high of nine blocks.
Cimmiyotti was good for 12 kills, a 20 for 23 effort on serves with two aces, and she ended up 14 for 21 on digs.
Maddy Bradford roped in five kills, Deysi Velador went 17 of 18 on serves with two aces, and Goslin dished up 46 assists.
Triperinas dropped 25 of 26 serves with five aces, went 20 of 25 on digs and posted a 39 for 45 effort on serve-receive in her last varsity match.
Also in her final match, Perry slammed home two kills and was 2 for 2 on digs.
It was a promising sign for Schwartz to see her team finish out the regular season with such a gritty effort in front of the home fans.
Although this team had gone 49 calendar days since its last non-tournament win, they had a sense of urgency to send three seniors home with a win on their last dance at Kurtz Gym.
“They didn’t get down, they didn’t let things get to them,” Schwartz said. “They played a great volleyball match, which I knew they had in them this whole season. They were aggressive and we attacked well. We had more hits then we had in the past, so it showed them that if we attack at teams, things would go well.”