PASCO - The survivor here Thursday plays No. 1-ranked Richland Saturday, and the loser breaks out the basketballs.
And after four sets, Wa-Hi survived Chiawana Thursday to meet Richland at noon on the Bomber court Saturday.
The Blue Devils must win there to advance to the Regional tournament.
At set- and match-point, Wa-Hi senior Stephanie Wilson's smash went off two Chiawana players and out of bounds. Wilson's point gave the Blue Devils a 25-21 set-four win and a 3-1 match victory over the Riverhawks in Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A volleyball loser-out action Thursday.
Wa-Hi and Chiawana split two regular-season matches, with Wa-Hi winning 3-2 and losing 3-1, but this one was for survival.
"Our goals tonight were to pass (effectively), have mental discipline, and serve aggressively," Blue Devil coach Audra Cummings said. "I said, ‘With that combination, we will win.' We went in and looked at the board (of goals) and went ‘Yep, yep, yep,' and (we) got the result."
Lexie Mahan's chip over the Riverhawk front line produced a 4-3 Blue Devil lead in set one. Wa-Hi, behind Sydney Christensen and Torri Crawford's hitting and Chantelle Zamora's serving, controlled the set. A Christensen kill and block closed out the set in a 25-15 Wa-Hi win.
The second set belonged to the Riverhawks. Sadie Sparks controlled the net for Chiawana with three kills and two blocks and the Riverhawks drew even at 1-1 with a 25-16 win.
"We knew that we could do what we did in the first game," Christensen said of the Blue Devil mindset following the loss. "We wanted to make sure we didn't let up and kept going hard the whole time."
The Riverhawks jumped to a 13-11 lead in the third set, but a Riverhawk got into the net following a long rally to give Wa-Hi a sideout and the momentum at 13-12.
"We talked about stopping the runs," Cummings said. "We did a better job of siding out than we have in the past. We responded well, didn't hang our heads, and didn't make it eight points instead of four."
Zamora's jump serve, which gave the Riverhawks trouble all night, and a stuff of a service return by Crawford, propelled the Blue Devils to a 15-13 lead and control of the set.
Mahan's serve and a Zamora kill closed out set three as the Blue Devils posted a 25-16 win.
A Shantelle Hill kill opened a 13-9 Riverhawk lead in set four. Wa-Hi fought back as a Christensen hit went off the Riverhawk defense and sent Christensen to the service line with Wa-Hi down 17-16.
Christensen strung together three points to open a 19-17 Blue Devil advantage.
"We worry about letting them get runs and we work on that a lot in practice," Christensen said of the Blue Devil comeback. "We have a tendency to make a run, but then let them get a few runs. Our main goal today was to not let them get runs."
The Riverhawks drew even at 19-19 and 20-20, and took the lead at 21-20 on a deep set by Jaime Steach to the unmanned Blue Devil left corner.
An unforced Riverhawk serving error gave Wa-Hi a side-out and a 21-21 tie. Zamora's jump serve took over and Wilson's hit ended it with a 25-21 set four win to culminate the 3-1 Blue Devil victory.
"That (win) was amazing," Christensen said. "That was the best we've played all year. Everyone had to work hard and did really well."
Franny Eacker-Rude dished out 37 assists for the Blue Devils. Crawford and Christensen led the hitters with 12 kills each. Wilson added six kills, and Zamora had six aces from the service line. Mahan added three blocks, Christensen posted 10 digs and Zamora chipped in with nine digs.
Now, Wa-Hi turns its focus to Richland Saturday.
"Chiawana took Richland to five last week, so they're a very respectable team," Cummings said. "Playing Moses Lake and Eisenhower last week, it was a little disheartening to see where we were at. I was really happy to see my girls step it up, not just a level, but several levels. We showed some maturity and had a great effort tonight."