WALLA WALLA — Former Wa-Hi star Madison Baxter recorded a team-high 10 kills while hitting at a .471 clip to help lead Walla Walla Community College to a 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 25-21 victory over Treasure Valley in an NWAACC Eastern Region volleyball match Thursday night in the Dietrich Dome.
Baxter, a freshmen outside hitter, also collected five digs and a block assist as the Warriors improved to 6-4 in league, 22-14 overall, and are now in sole possession of fourth place in the region standings.
"When we really needed a kill, Madison came through," WWCC coach Tim Toon said. "She was the MVP at the net."
The Chuckars are now 4-4 and 12-9.
Sarah McLean — who set 20 assists, served three aces, and upped 10 digs on the night — got Walla Walla off to a good start in the first set by opening the frame with an ace. Following a kill by Nikki Long and two TVCC errors, the Warriors led 4-0.
"Sarah had a steady performance as usual," Toon said.
WWCC led by as many as six points on three occasions in the game. The latter of those leads came after an M.J. Celentano kill that put Walla Walla in front, 19-13.
Treasure Valley battled back to tie the stanza at 23-23 on a Warrior hitting error.
But Cassie Phippen (who had seven kills and four blocks) and Long (seven kills, 13 digs, and two aces) notched kills to end the game in WWCC’s favor.
The Chuckars scored the first five points of game two before the Warriors tied the score at 11-11 on a hitting snafu.
The teams were tied five more times — at 12, 16, 17, 18, and 19 — prior to a three-point Warrior surge that ended with a Phippen kill and a 22-19 WWCC edge. Walla Walla went on to take the game by four points.
In game three, the Warriors held 6-1 and 7-2 leads early, only to have TVCC rally and force a fourth game.
The Chuckars led 5-4 in the fourth set before Ashley Magee hammered back-to-back kills — two of eight she had on the night — to give Walla Walla the lead for good.
WWCC led by as many as seven points in the final game, 17-10, and withstood a couple of mini-spurts by the Chuckars to emerge with the win.
"This was probably the most intense match of the year for us," Toon said. "A lot was on the line. We have qualified for the NWAACC Tournament eight straight years and we really don’t want to stay at home this year. We are now in a solid position for the playoffs, knocking Treasure Valley to the fifth position in league."
Other Warrior stat leaders were Megan Tompkins with 34 digs, Carley Miller with 11 digs, Corrine Holbrook with 4 kills, Sharsti Goff with 17 assists and two aces, and Celentano with three kills.
"Megan is the heart and soul of our back court," Toon said. "She played like a true Warrior.
"It was important to defend our home court," Toon said. "Winning big matches in the Dome has become a tradition."
WWCC’s next match is Wednesday at league-leading Spokane.