Irish volleyball rallies past Knights in four sets

Walla Walla Valley Academy wins the first set, but DeSales battles back for victories in the next three on Senior Night.

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WALLA WALLA - It took four sets for DeSales to come out on top of Walla Walla Valley Academy in District 9 volleyball play in the Irish gym Tuesday.

The Irish (6-6) took the victory 23-25, 25-18, 25-12 and 25-19.

"I was most pleased with their recovery, when they came from behind after losing that first set," said DeSales coach Lori Blanc of her team.

The Irish have lost several close matches this season, and Blanc was pleased it didn't happen Tuesday in front of an excited crowd.

The Irish came out strong in the first set, scoring the first four points before the Knights marked the board. The Knights scored six unanswered points, sparked by Kelsie Schafer's three kills, to tie it at 10 and again at 12, but DeSales answered with four serving aces by Stephanie Ferrel and an error by WWVA.

Leading 17-12, DeSales let WWVA back in the game for a tie at 20, then took the lead to 22-20.

But WWVA came back to take the set on several DeSales errors.

"It was a hard game on both sides," WWVA head coach Scott Schafer said. "I had four girls out because of illness. I had most of my big hitters, but I was missing my middles. It makes it hard when you're used to a set group. But we had our chances and we didn't step up."

Kelsie Schafer led WWVA with 14 kills. She was 17-of-19 serving.

The Knights opened set two with two points, but the Irish quickly caught up and ran to a 9-6 lead. WWVA caught up to an 11-11 tie off a Kirsten Rassmusen kill, but DeSales took seven of the next eight points to take an 18-13 lead.

Stephanie Ferrel and Abby Larreau combined to push it to 24-17.

A long WWVA serve ended it with DeSales up, 25-18, to tie the match.

DeSales opened strong in the third set, quickly moving to a 16-3 lead as the Irish student section cheered them on. WWVA didn't make it to double digits until DeSales had marked 23, and quickly fell on a solid block by Larreau and a long Knight serve.

DeSales needed just one more set for the win on its Senior Night, but WWVA wasn't ready to leave.

The Irish opened with a score, but back-and-forth play quickly moved the match to a 10-10 tie.

The Knights took the lead to 14-11 before DeSales answered with three points - two off WWVA errors - for another tie.

With the crowd getting into it, the Knights managed to keep a badly hit ball alive and score for a 15-14 lead.

It was their last lead of the night.

DeSales posted six points, including three off its lone senior, Megan Moberg, for a 20-14 lead. The Knights answered with two, but DeSales was ready to end the match and quickly did at 25-19.

Larreau led the Irish with 12 kills. Ferrel had eight kills, Annie Higgins four and Moberg had three.

Chantel Blanc had 25 assists.

The Irish only missed three serves on the night. Larreau had 22-of-22, Higgins had 19-of-19, Alex Buley 15-of-15 and Blanc 14-of-14.

Buley and Larreau both posted three blocks on the night.

The Knights travel to Tri-Cities Prep for a makeup match today to end their season.

"We don't go to districts because it's a Saturday," Scott Schafer said. "Until they figure out how to remedy that, we're done."

The Knights stand at 6-5 on the season in league play.

Eight seniors will graduate from the Knights' team, Schafer said.

Senior Bri Leen led with three blocks, junior Brooklynn Larson had 18 assists and senior Sonrisa Wagner was 17-of-19 serving. Senior libero Sandy Avalos led with 23 digs.

The other graduating WWVA seniors are Liesl Cole, Schafer, Brittnay Pierson, Rassmusen and Melissa McCrery.

The Irish play a non-league match at Riverside Thursday, then have their third match of the season at Asotin next Tuesday.

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