WENATCHEE — Last weekend, the Wenatchee Valley College volleyball team lost four three-set matches at the Clackamas Crossover Tournament in Clackamas, Ore. The Knights weren’t badly outplayed, though — they just kept losing close set after close set.
Against Clackamas on Sunday, they lost by a combined 10 points, and was defeated by Clark by a combined 11 points. A day earlier, WVC lost to Pierce by a combined 13 points, and kept its match against Skagit Valley close for the first two sets.
Entering their Wednesday match against Yakima Valley College at Smith Gymnasium, the Knights badly needed a win, not only for their record, but for their confidence. They needed to know that they were capable of coming out on the winning side of a close match.
That’s why sophomore middle blocker Whitney Gay said that their thrilling, 25-23, 20-25, 25-15, 18-25, 15-13 win over the Yaks could serve as “a turning point” for the Knights season.
“This is so amazing,” Gay said. “We changed our mentality. We know what (we’re capable of) doing, and we just need to keep doing the same things we did tonight. This is definitely going to be a confidence booster.”
If WVC had lost to the Yaks, it would’ve fell to 0-3 in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges East Region, not an enviable position to be in.
Instead, the Knights will enter their Friday road match against Columbia Basin with a chance to even their East record.
“This (win) was much needed,” said Knights coach Daria Wickler. “Hopefully we can get some momentum and start heading in the right direction. It’s never good to go five sets — you always want to win in three — but it’s good that we pulled it out because we were aggressive and didn’t let up, especially in the fifth set. It was refreshing to see.”
A back-and-forth match was culminated by a back-and-forth fifth set. WVC took an early 7-3 lead, but the Yaks responded with an 8-1 run to take an 11-8 lead. WVC scored three straight points to tie the set at 11-11, and after Yakima Valley scored the next point, the Knights scored the next three, a run finished by a Hunter Durham ace.
WVC won the match two points later on a Yaks hitting error.
“When we got down (in previous matches), we’d get down on ourselves, but that didn’t happen tonight,” said Gay, who had nine kills. “Everybody clicked. (This match) brought us a lot closer as a team.”
“We pushed through (our mistakes), and we went at every point with confidence,” Winckler said. “They’re learning to trust each other as teammates.”
Chancy Gill led the Knights with 16 kills. Hunter Durham had 19 assists and 18 digs.