CHELAN — When the Chelan and Cascade volleyball teams play one another, they tend to bring out the best in each other. That usually results in some pretty fantastic volleyball, considering the fact that both squads are so good to begin with.
As the years have passed, the rivalry between the two teams has evolved, and even though both teams’ coaches tell their players to treat the two annual showdowns against the other as just another match, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to actually do that. The players on both sides certainly don’t need any extra motivation to play well.
That’s why Thursday’s first match of the season between the programs, which resulted in a 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 15-8 win for the Kodiaks, was such a thrilling spectacle. When the two teams get together again in two weeks for a rematch in Leavenworth, similar efforts can be expected.
“This wasn’t (typical) 1A volleyball,” said Cascade coach Marni McMahon. “We can contend with anybody, and we showcased that tonight. That’s a (tribute) to both programs. It’s very hard (to tell the players that this is just another match). No matter how much you tell them, it’s hard not to think they’re not listening, but we tried to keep them focused and level-headed.”
“(These matches) are always so competitive,” said Chelan coach Donene Hendricks. “It makes for great volleyball for both communities to watch.”
The Goats entered the match ranked second in the latest Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association state 1A poll, with Cascade right behind in third place. Both teams, as usual, came in to their first match-up of the season with unbeaten Caribou Trail League records.
Cascade (10-0 CTL) proved its worth after posting a gritty fifth-set win after losing the third and fourth sets. The Kodiaks might be a bit deeper than the Goats. But once again, it appears as if there’s very little, if anything, that’s separating these two teams.
Thursday’s match bore that out. When one team was able to make a run, the other usually responded.
“Chelan is a good team, and they’re always a good battle for us,” said outside hitter Eliana Ala’ilima-Daley, who recorded 27 kills, two shy of the school record set by Arielle Turner in a match against Chelan last season. “It doesn’t matter who’s better, or who has the better record. We stayed focused and didn’t worry who was across the net. We kept calm and didn’t get flustered.”
The Kodiaks certainly didn’t get flustered after squandering a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth set, Cascade built a commanding 9-2 lead on the strength of four Ala’ilima-Daley kills. The Goats (8-1 CTL) closed to within 11-8, but Cascade finished the match with four straight points.
“We tried to keep our heads up and not worry about (the third and fourth sets),” said Ala’ilima-Daley. “We didn’t want to let that get to us. We took it one point at a time. We wanted to be the first to five, the first to 10.”
“In the fifth set, we saw a seasoned team that’s been there before,” McMahon said. “I challenged our six seniors to show the rest of the team what leadership means. We stayed level-headed and came out on top.”
The Kodiaks came on out top in part due to the play of Ala’ilima-Daley, a junior. She’s rapidly becoming one of the league’s better players thanks to her power and precision.
“She’s still developing,” McMahon said. “She’s going to be scary good in another year. She’s doing some good stuff.”
Sydney Coffin added 16 kills for the Kodiaks, and Johnna Rieke added a school-record 53 assists.
Abby Phelps had 16 kills for the Goats, and Makenzie Harris added 11.
“(Cascade) did a good job of digging,” Hendricks said. “It was hard for us to find holes to keep rallies going. In the fifth set, especially, they played excellent defense. They had good ball control and kept attacking, and their blocking played a big role.
“We know that this is not the end of our journey. We’ll play them again, and we’ll have to be ready.”
Brewster 3, Omak 2
Brewster posted a 23-25, 25-14, 21-25, 25-17, 15-13 win over Omak (6-5, 6-5).
Brette Boesel had 31 assists, 10 digs, six kills and four blocks for the Bears (6-4, 6-4), while Marquette Miller had 28 kills.
Cashmere 4, Okanogan 0
Tessa McCormick scored twice to lead CTL-leading Cashmere (11-1, 10-0) to a win over Okanogan (7-5, 6-4).
Cascade 11, Chelan 0
Cascade blanked host Chelan to run its record to 8-3 (8-1 CTL).