Thursday, November 5, 2009
WENATCHEE — Walla Walla still controls its own destiny in its bid for a return trip to the NWAACC volleyball tournament, but there is little room, if any, for error.
The Warriors dropped an Eastern Division match to Wenatchee here Wednesday night — 26-24, 25-20, 27-25 — and slid into a tie for fourth place in the division standings with Columbia Basin. The top four teams qualify for the NWAACC Championships.
The Hawks, who swept three games from last-place Big Bend Wednesday night, and the Warriors are even at 6-6 in the East. And they face each other next Wednesday in Pasco in the final regular-season match for each of them.
That match could very likely decide who claims the fourth and final postseason ticket. But the Warriors and Hawks will first have to take care of business Friday when the Walla Walla entertain Yakima and Columbia Basin hosts division-leading Blue Mountain.
"If we win our last two matches, we guarantee ourselves a playoff spot," WWCC coach Tim Toon said. "And we are a good enough team to do it, we just need to play better at critical times."
That didn’t happen in Wednesday’s narrow defeat in Wenatchee.
"In the first set, we were tied at 24 and couldn’t make the critical plays to close out the game," Toon said. "We also missed five serves in that set that kept us out of the winners’ column.
"Then, in set three, we were tied at 24 again and missed some transition opportunities.
"Statistically, we played very well in every category except for the score," Toon said. "Unfortunately, that’s the only thing that matters in the end."
Nikki Long pounded 13 kills and added 10 digs for the Warriors while Ashley Magee followed at the net with 12 kills, registered eight digs, two blocks and a pair of serving aces.
"That was dynamic all-around play," Toon said of Magee’s performance. "And Nikki pounded the seam in the block to collect a lot of her kills."
Megan Tompkins was the Warriors’ digs leader with 21 and was "the best defender in the gym," Toon said.
Tompkins also contributed a pair of serving aces.
Sarah McLean led in assists with 20 and chipped in with six digs.
Sharsti Goff finished with 18 assists and nine digs, and Emilee Toft contributed seven kills.
NWAACC Eastern Division
x-Blue Mountain 10-1 34-6
x-Spokane 10-1 26-11
Wenatchee Valley 7-4 20-16
Columbia Basin 6-6 22-15
Walla Walla 6-6 22-16
Treasure Valley 5-6 13-11
Yakima Valley 1-10 7-20
Big Bend 1-12 4-24
x — clinched NWAACC Championships berth
Spokane def Yakima Valley 25-7, 25-17, 25-21
Wenatchee Valley def Walla Walla 26-24, 25-20, 27-25
Blue Mountain def Treasure Valley 20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-18
Columbia Basin def Big Bend 23-25, 25-23, 25-13, 25-21)
Blue Mountain at Columbia Basin, 6 p.m.
Spokane at Treasure Valley, 6 p.m.
Big Bend at Wenatchee Valley, 6 p.m.
Yakima Valley at Walla Walla, 6 p.m.
Spokane at Blue Mountain, noon
Wednesday, Nov. 11
Wenatchee Valley at Spokane, noon
Yakima Valley at Blue Mountain, 6 p.m.
Walla Walla at Columbia Basin, 6 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 13
Treasure Valley at Wenatchee, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14
Treasure Valley at Yakima, 1 p.m.
REGULAR SEASON ENDS