Colville High (8-5, 7-4) lost an epic five-game battle with co-league-leader Pullman (8-7, 8-3) in a key Great Northern League volleyball match-up back on Oct. 22 in Colville.
The Indians took control of the match, winning the first two games, 26-24 and 25-22. Colville fell behind 7-0 and 10-1 in the opening game before catching fire.
But Pullman won the final three sets and the match, 25-21, 25-16, 19-17.
In the finale, Colville led for much of the game before the ‘Hounds caught fire late to steal a big road win and send the largest CHS crowd of the season home disappointed on Senior Night.
Rachel Dinsmore dished out 46 assists for Pullman.
Buckner leads the way for CHS
Aubrey Buckner led Colville with 23 kills, three ace serves and four blocks. Libero Jessi Wittmeyer had 19 digs and setter Hanna Smith had 43 assists.
It was Senior Night and the last home match for Colville’s seven seniors: Wittmeyer, Buckner, Smith, Sadie Learn, Tyra Brons, Chantel Nussbaum and Hannah Greene.
CHS coach Ron Schuh conceded that the loss to Pullman was a very difficult one.
“When we came out in the third game and were playing more our style and building a lead, I really thought the night was ours,” Schuh admitted. “I guess Pullman had other thoughts about that.
“We had three excellent opportunities to end the match in our favor in the fifth game…two bad breaks went against us and a communication error gave Pullman what they needed.
“It was a huge loss for Colville volleyball…we will have to come together as a team and pull through this.”
As competitive as the GNL is this fall, and given the parity between at least four GNL teams at the top, every point counts.
“When the league is this close and a win is so important, I believe we need to work on how important every single contact of the ball is,” Schuh added.
Colville will close out the regular GNL season on Saturday with the long road trip to Clarkston (5-5). The varsity match-up is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.
In other GNL matches last week, Deer Park downed cellar-dwelling West Valley (0-11), 25-12, 25-15, 25-20 and Cheney (7-3) got past Clarkston, 24-26, 25-15, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13.
Last Thursday, East Valley got past Deer Park, 26-25, 25-17, 25-16 and Pullman defeated Cheney, 25-15, 25-23, 24-26, 22-25, 15-11.
Control own fate
League-leading East Valley and Pullman control their own fate. If the Knights and Greyhounds both win GNL finales on Tuesday, they will share the league championship and head into the District 7 2A Tournament as one and two seeds. They will also host first round match-ups.
By virtue of a pre-season tie-breaker “draw,” EV would go as no. 1 seed and Pullman would be no. 2.
A Pullman loss on Tuesday could force a two or three-way tie for second in a wild GNL race. That’s if Colville and Cheney each win their final matches this week.
An East Valley loss on Tuesday could force a two-way tie for second with Cheney if the Blackhawks win on Tuesday.
Colville isn’t included in that discussion because the Indians lost twice to East Valley this fall.
Any tie-breakers would be played at West Valley on Monday, Nov. 4 (7 p.m.), according to CHS Athletic Director, Kelly Carr.
The District 7 2A Tournament starts on Wednesday, Nov. 6 with loser-out match-ups. GNL. No. 6 will oppose GNL no. 3 at GNL no. 2 and GNL no. 5 will play GNL no. 4 at the home of the GNL champion.
Those matches are scheduled for 5 p.m.
At the same sites that night at 7 p.m., the winner of match no. 1 will take on GNL no. 2 at the home of GNL no. 2.
At the home of the GNL champion, the winner of match no. 2 will oppose the GNL champion.
The tournament will continue on Nov. 9 with loser-out and championship matches. Two GNL teams will advance out of District to the State 2A Tournament at Pierce Community College in Lakewood.