After a so-so weekend in Spokane, Walla Walla High came out firing on all cylinders on Tuesday night in Mid-Columbia volleyball action.
The Blue Devils sprinted to an 11-0 lead over Kamiakin to open the first set, and never looked back.
Wa-Hi swept the Braves 3-0 to remain undefeated in MCC play.
“We saw some really good teams in Spokane,” Blue Devils coach Tracy Rotert said. “It was a roller coaster for us. It was fun to play some different teams and get a different feeling, which I think we brought tonight.”
Behind the serving of Jade Ilaoa, the Blue Devils jumped to an 11-0 lead in the first set. With the blocking of Hannah Hair and the hitting of Hair and Kaiya Lynch, the Braves never got untracked.
Mya Wood, from her libero position, led a Blue Devil defense that returned everything, and Wa-Hi took set one, 25-8.
“Jade’s serving was a great way to start the set,” Rotert said. “We had some amazing blocks and were able to shut down their hitters. Once we stopped their hitters, we got a lot of free balls that we were able to put away.”
Monica Miller, at the service line for the Blue Devils to open set two, got the Blue Devils off to a 3-0 lead.
Becca Merca’s serving, Lynch’s hitting and a block from Isabelle Gardea expanded the Wa-Hi lead to 14-6.
The Braves staged a kick-save on a Blue Devil hit, and rallied late to cut the Wa-Hi lead to 24-18 before an Addie Baker hit put the set away in a 25-18 win.
Kamiakin took its first lead of the night behind Grace Le’s serve at 2-1 to open the third set.
A Wa-Hi miss-hit, behind Aspen Harrison’s serve, gave the Braves their last hurrah of the night at 7-5.
A Hair block, and two Brave unforced errors, put Wa-Hi in command at 9-7.
Miller-to-Hair on a couple of running hits, an Emma McGuire kill, and Lynch’s ability to find the empty space on the Brave court, led to an Ilaoa blast off the fingers of the Brave defense and a 25-17 Wa-Hi win to complete the sweep.
“I thought we did really well tonight,” senior setter Miller said. “We played as a team and had great chemistry. (After the opening 25-8 win) we just had to continue to play together. It’s a continuity thing.”
“Our defense did a very good job of digging everything up,” Rotert said. “It was exciting to see everything work well.”
Miller handed out 21 assists as the Blue Devils put Hair and Lynch into double digit kills with 10 kills each.
“If the passing is on, the hitting will be on,” Miller explained about her setting job. “We’ve been working hard on connecting. Some days we are on. It depends on where the blocks are as to who gets the kill (opportunity).”
Wood sparked the Wa-Hi defensive effort with a team-leading 11 digs.
Ilaoa had a big night at the Blue Devil service line with five aces, in addition to six digs.
Hair added to the Wa-Hi dominance at the net with five blocks.
Wa-Hi takes a perfect 6-0 MCC record to Hanford on Saturday to begin the second round of MCC play.
With key matches looming with one-loss Chiawana and undefeated Richland, the Blue Devils cannot afford to overlook the Falcons, whom they defeated 3-0 earlier this season.
“We’re excited for Chiawana and Richland, but we can’t play down to the competition,” Miller said. “It will be a totally different atmosphere (than the 3-0 win at home over Hanford) in their (the Falcon’s) gym. Hopefully, we come to play.”
“It’s always fun to go into the second round of league,” Rotert said. “Teams change, I know we have, since the first time around. We still have to continue to work and be ready. It will be fun to see if we can build on this (victory) and continue to play at this level.”