191011-sportslocal-eastmontvolleyball 01.jpg

With three West Valley players listed at over six-feet tall, it was hard for Eastmont, including Ashlynn Grasseth, right, to get it past their blockers in volleyball Thursday night, Oct. 10, 2019, at Eastmont. Defending league champions West Valley beat Eastmont in three sets. For more photographs of the game, see a photo gallery at wenatcheeworld.com and a video on The Wenatchee World’s Facebook page.

EAST WENATCHEE — The West Valley Rams are the defending state champions in the 4A division. They may not have the same firepower this year, but they are still the class of the Big 9.

Eastmont played West Valley at home on Thursday. On Sept. 17, the Wildcats lost 3-1 at West Valley. In doing so, they did something no other conference team has done against them, win a set.

That fact alone made it seem like maybe the Wildcats could hang with West Valley at home, but it was not to be, as the Rams won 25-15, 25-18, 25-14.

“There is something about West Valley where they get mental, which isn’t good,” said Eastmont Head Coach Karrine Davis. “If we can control our unforced errors, it would be a lot better.”

In the first game, Eastmont fell behind early and could never catch up. West Valley junior outside hitter Mackensi Meluskey is only 5-foot-7 but she could throw down. The Wildcats had trouble with her but blocked her up a couple of times.

West Valley was serving strong as usual and their backline play was excellent. Eastmont was pretty even with them on the front line. The five unforced errors in the first set definitely hurt their chances.

191011-sportslocal-eastmontvolleyball 02.jpg

Eastmont's Sarah Peterson hits a spike against West Valley in the second set of their volleyball match Thursday night, Oct. 10, 2019, at Eastmont.

Eastmont cut down on the unforced errors in the second set and hung with the Rams. It was tied at 9-9, but then West Valley started moving ahead. The Wildcats were within three at 19-16. However, the Rams, behind their strong serving, won out 25-18.

“We have to be able to move on defense. We can’t just let the ball hit the floor,” Davis said. “Serve-receive has gotten a lot better. Now we just need to get that defense moving. Not standing still.”

The Wildcats played a spirited third set. They were tied at 11-11, but then the Rams started inching ahead. West Valley held on for the 25-14 set win.

Eastmont had 18 kills in the game. Senior outside hitter Riley Hoff had seven. The Rams had 31 kills. They were led my Meluskey with 16 kills. The Rams had 11 blocks. Eastmont had four blocks.

With the win, West Valley improved to 7-0 in conference and 8-0 overall in dual matches. Eastmont dropped to 4-3 in the Big 9 and 4-4 overall.

191011-sportslocal-eastmontvolleyball 03.jpg

Eastmont's Katherine Loomis is unable to get to a West Valley spike in their volleyball game Thursday night, Oct. 10, 2019, at Eastmont. The Rams beat the Wildcats of Eastmont in straight sets.

Next up for the Wildcats, a home game on Saturday against 2A Selah. The Vikings have been known over the years for their excellent volleyball program.

“They are usually really solid so it will be a good matchup for us. It’s nice that it is non-league so they can just go out there and play relaxed,” Davis said.

Eastmont returns to Big 9 play next Tuesday at Eisenhower (3-4, 3-4). The Wildcats beat Ike at home 3-0 on Sept. 19.

Photo Editor Don Seabrook: (509)661-5225