WALLA WALLA - The Warriors led for the first two-and-a-third sets against the Spokane Sasquatch, but it wasn't enough to win the NWAACC volleyball opener for both schools Wednesday at the Dietrich Dome.
Walla Walla Community College won the first two sets, but then dropped the last three to fall to the Sasquatch.
"I'm disappointed that we had no chance to win in sets three, four and five," said WWCC coach Tim Toon. "I ask the team to go into every game with a chance to win, and we didn't do that."
The Warriors and Sasquatch paced each other through the first two sets, with WWCC scoring the first point of the evening off sophomore Nikki Long.
At 12-12, a hard-hit Warrior ball bounced off Spokane's Casey Williams and dropped neatly through the basketball hoop - three points, if such things counted here.
The Warriors and Sasquatch paced each other through the first two sets, with neither team leading by more than five and the Warriors winning both, 27-26 and 25-23.
But it came unraveled in the third. Spokane scored first, and though the Warriors answered, they only led once, at 2-1.
They rallied midway through to trail by one point, but never got closer than 12-11 in the set loss.
Spokane, galvanized off the win, came into the fourth set ready to battle - and quickly did. The Sasquatch were up 18-8 before the Warriors started to close the gap. Despite several hard volleys and hits, the Warriors went down, 25-17.
Tied at 2-2, the fifth and final set mattered.
The Warriors went into the final set energized from their late rally in the fourth, but it wasn't enough to win. They kept pace, but missed communication and holes on the floor let Spokane in - and Spokane took it, 15-10.
"We lost momentum and made mistakes," Toon said. "Spokane started playing better, and we should've closed them out sooner."
Communication and ball handling was a struggle, he said.
"When our ball control broke down, we needed to make improvements in our communication and we didn't do that," he said. "We made some improvements, but not enough.
"It's like kissing your sister," he continued. "We made enough improvements to win, but had enough mistakes to lose."
Spokane, 2009 NWAACC volleyball champion, came to Walla Walla with a record to protect.
"We squandered the opportunity to define ourselves as a good team," Toon said. "We could've defined ourselves as a high-quality team - but now, we're still a team with potential."
Toon said the team made too many errors.
"We had at least 10 major errors in each game," he said.
Brittany Dominiguez led the Warriors in kills, with 18. Long had 16 and Danielle Meehan had 11.
Sharsti Goff made 34 assists, Carley Miller had 34 digs, followed by Meehan's 10. Corrine Holbrook had 11 blocks. Holbrook left after the third game with an injury.
Libby Kern replaced Holbrook in the lineup, contributing a block, block assist and five kills in two sets.
"Libby gave us a spark in the last couple of games," Toon said. Long and Dominguez also had good nights, he said.
The Warriors travel to the Spokane Tournament this weekend, where they'll face NWAACC teams and the College of North Idaho.
It will be a tough weekend before continuing NWAACC play at Yakima next week, Toon said.
"We'll talk in a month and see what happens," Toon said of the team. "They have the potential to be pretty good."