The Shockers volleyball team

The Shockers volleyball team shows off their newly won district championship trophy. Back row, from left, Head Coach Alyssa Polson, Jada Freels, Johnna Hope, Ella Osborne, Tiera Miller, Evalee Shafer, Assistant Coach Alli Mires, and Assistant Coach Rebecca Fraley. Front row, Alexa Garcia, Bailey Viebrock, Jimena Garcia, and Julia Ashley.

The Waterville-Mansfield Shockers volleyball team may have entered their district championship tournament as the number one seed, but health circumstances gave them challenges beyond their control. Still, this team refused to let these setbacks become a crutch, instead battling through the WIAA’s COVID-19 rules to return to play protocols and pummeling their opponents, on their way to winning the WIAA District 6 Volleyball District Championship Tournament.

At the end of their regular season, the Shockers were forced to enter the WIAA’s COVID-19 protocols. This caused them to have to forfeit their regular season finale against the Easton Jaguars. Fortunately, this did not hurt the Shockers as they still finished the regular season in first place, ensuring that they would host the District 6 Championships.

However, the Shockers' challenges were not finished. They had to play their first two matches without their head coach, and they did not have three of their top players available for the entire tournament due to the protocols. Instead of succumbing to challenges they were unable to control, this team raised their level of play and absolutely dominated the tournament, dropping just one game in three matches.

After the Shockers won their final match, team captain Ella Osborne shared her feelings on winning a championship, the team’s coaches, the community, and the team’s performance throughout the week.

The Shockers celebrate winning their district championship. (1).jpg

The Shockers celebrate winning their district championship.

“It feels amazing. We haven’t won our district in I don’t even know how many years, so it feels great. I’m very proud of my team, very proud of the coaches and the community for coming to support us. We played great,” said Osborne.

It was a sentiment that was echoed by many of her teammates.

“It feels amazing,” said Jada Freels.

“I’m so proud of us,” said Bailey Viebrock.

Jimena Garcia commented about how special it has made her feel to have so many people rooting for her team. 

“I feel famous,” she said.

In the first match, the first-seeded Shockers took on the eighth-seeded Easton Jaguars, winning three games to one on Tuesday night. This would be the only game the Shockers lost all tournament. As the stakes increased, so did the team’s level of play. On Thursday night, the Shockers swept the fourth-seeded Entiat Tigers (25-22, 25-9, and 25-12) in their semi-final match. Finally on Saturday morning the Shockers swept the second-seed Pateros Nannies (25-16, 25-18, and 25-12) to secure their championship.

The second round match versus the Tigers, a team they had edged three games to two just 11 days prior, was a back and forth affair in the first game. Late in the game, the Shockers were down 15-17, but Johnna Hope stepped up with four big serves to put our home team up 19-17 and the Shockers never gave up the lead after that. When Entiat started to come back, Ella Osborne came up with a huge spike that bounced off an Entiat player and struck the scoreboard behind them. The kill sealed the game one win and seemed to deflate the players from Entiat. In the second game, the Shockers jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never let up the pressure. Tiera Miller had several big hits in this game and the faces of the Tigers’ players showed utter dejection. Ella Osborne and Jada Freels put Entiat out of their misery in game two by blocking an attempted spike. Much to their credit, the Tigers showed some fight in game three, jumping out to a 5-1 lead, but then Jimena Garcia stepped up to serve and pulled the game back to a 5-5 tie. The Shockers continued their momentum on their way to a 25-12 win for the three game sweep.

The championship finale against the Nannies started competitive in the first game, with the game tied 8-8, but the Shockers went on a 6-0 run and controlled the rest of the game. Ella Osborne came up with some big kills and timely blocks that seemed to alter Pateros’ approach at the net. When Osborne rotated to the back row, Johnna Hope provided a big presence at the net as well, all but eliminating their opponents hope of a reprieve. Osborne finished off game one with one of her many well placed kills. The Nannies refused to give in, jumping out to an 8-2 lead and forcing two timeouts by the Shockers to begin game one. But head coach Alyssa Polson, who was able to return for Saturday’s match, was able to calm her players and they exploded on a 13-4 run to take a 15-12 lead, seizing the momentum away from their opponents. Throughout game three, a Shockers’ victory seemed inevitable. They began the game with a 12-5 lead and then Bailey Viebrock stepped out with a big service streak, going 4-5 serving to take away any dreams Pateros had of a comeback. After that, the Shockers cruised to a victory, becoming district champions. While many players had big hits throughout Saturday’s match, the most impressive thing was how the Shockers made dig after dig, forcing the Nannies to work for the points they were able to gain. Meanwhile, the Shockers dominated at the net and seemed to alter how Pateros approached their attacks.

Tiera Miler

Tiera Miler serves to the Pateros Nannies in their district championship match. 

While not all the Shockers had huge numbers in the statistics that are reported, but they all played a big part in winning the tournament. The Waterville-Mansfield student athletes who played in the District 6 Volleyball Tournament, along with their statistics for the three matches, were Julia Ashley (1 assist), Evalee Shafer (3-3 serving and 1 ace), Tiera Miller (33-40 serving, 11 aces, 3 assists, and 14 kills), Bailey Viebrock (8-10 serving and 1 kill), Jimena Garcia (28-35 serving, 8 aces, 2 assists, and 5 kills), Jada Freels (15-19 serving, 5 aces, 19 assists, 2 kills, and 1 block), Ella Osborne (38-42 serving, 4 aces, 4 assists, 33 kills, and 15 blocks), Alexa Garcia (36-41 serving, 5 aces, 190 assists, and 2 kills), and Johnna Hope (44-50 serving, 16 aces, 27 assists, 13 kills, and 3 blocks). Another big contributor of note was Jill Moomaw who stepped into the head coaching role for the first two matches and kept the Shockers playing at a high level, until head coach Alyssa Polson was able to return.

Coach Polson was not hesitant to share the pride she has in her players and the accomplishments they have achieved so far.

“I am extremely proud of this team and all of their hard work this season. You could just see the improvement from the beginning of the season until now. This is a team that deserves to go to state,” said Coach Polson

The Shockers (9-7) travel to the Yakima Valley SunDome this Thursday to compete in the WIAA 1B Volleyball Tournament where they have received the 12th seed. They are scheduled to open the tournament against the fifth-seeded Neah Bay Red Devils (11-0) at 1:30 p.m. The winner of that match will advance to a quarter final championship match the same evening. The loser will also play the same evening seventh and eighth place bracket. Both of the second matches are scheduled to begin at 8:15 p.m. The tournament is scheduled to conclude this Friday.

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