WALLA WALLA — Outside hitter Courtney Zaro and setter Jill McDaniels both showcased a fair amount of senior leadership Tuesday night during Wa-Hi’s Big Nine Conference-opening volleyball match with Moses Lake in the Blue Devil gym.
Zaro pounded 10 kills and served three aces while McDaniels contributed 14 assists, seven digs and four kills in Wa-Hi’s 25-19, 25-18, 25-23 rout of the Chiefs.
A pair of sophomores and one junior also provided critical statistical numbers in the triumph.
Jamie Weisner had six kills and equaled Zaro’s number of aces, Tianna Cummings chipped in with 23 digs and Sydney Christensen added three terminations.
Moses Lake took a 3-1 lead in the opening set before Wa-Hi took charge with a 5-0 spurt. Zaro and Weisner slammed a kill apiece during the run and Zaro registered an ace.
The Chiefs closed within two in three instances — 6-4, 7-5, and 8-6 — before a serving error, double hit, and Weisner ace gave the Blue Devils an 11-6 lead.
Wa-Hi’s bulge expanded to as much as nine points on two occasions — 18-9 on a Zaro ace and 21-12 on a Christensen kill.
Zaro ended the game with five kills.
Following ties at 1-1 and 2-2 early in the second game, the Blue Devils used a Zaro kill and four Chiefs’ errors — including a pair of hitting snafus — to build a five-point cushion, 7-2.
The lead shrank to one, 8-7, before Wa-Hi scored six of the next eight points to assume a five-point spread, 14-9. A Weisner ace, a McDaniels kill, and four more Chiefs’ errors were key in the surge.
In all, 16 Moses Lake miscues were responsible for nearly two-thirds of the Blue Devils’ points in the game.
"In all honesty, the statistics tell me Moses Lake had a lot of errors," Wa-Hi coach Audra Cummings said.
Aces by Cummings and Alicia Baker, and a Weisner kill, helped Wa-Hi build an 8-3 lead in game three.
But the Chiefs used a 7-2 run to knot the tally at 10-10. Kills by Christensen and Zaro were the Blue Devils’ only points during Moses Lake’s blitz.
After ties at 11, 12, and 13, Wa-Hi took a 14-13 edge before Moses Lake put up the next six points — two of which were recorded on kills by Kayla Bernsen.
Wa-Hi stormed back with five points of its own and tied the game at 19-19 on a Zaro ace.
Moses Lake scored three of the next four points before the Blue Devils closed out the set and the match with a 5-1 flurry.
The closing stages of the contest had a post-season feel, with the rooting sections of both sides unleashing loud, exuberant displays.
"They were freaked out by Moses Lake’s noise," coach Cummings said of her team’s moments of lost composure in game three. "But they got their energies back and finished the game strong. I was impressed with their confidence."
The Blue Devils travel to East Wenatchee Thursday for a league counter with Eastmont before hosting the annual Northwest Invitational tournament on Saturday.