WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Community College's quest to pick up their first league win will last at least one more game after the Warriors dropped their fifth straight conference contest at the hands of Columbia Basin in straight sets 26-24, 25-23, 31-29.
"We needed this win desperately and couldn't figure out a way to win," said WWCC head coach Tim Toon. "In the first set we were cruising with a 14-7 lead but made a ton of unforced errors to let CBC get close again. We forged ahead again to get a 24-20, but nobody wanted the ball for the final kill. This has been the story of our season. When the game is on the line, we can't make the big play."
Columbia Basin capped its first-set comeback on a spike from sophomore outside hitter Lilia Najera.
The Hawks rode the momentum from the first half to an early lead in the second frame, jumping on WWCC 4-1. The Warriors rallied to notch the set at 20 and 23, but again they couldn't find anyone to come up with the critical score.
Freshman outside hitter Bailey Carlson knocked home the Hawks 24th point with a spike and Brittany Weiland followed with the last tally of the set.
"It's been the story of our year," Toon said. "We get so close, but we keep falling short."
The third set was an epic, which saw the Warriors battle back from an 8-2 hole and fight off seven set points before CBC finally closed out the game on a spike from Eva Grassi.
"In the third set, we played catch up the entire way and were able to finally make some huge plays to extend it beyond the regulation 25 points," Toon said. "We showed a lot of character to fight off a bunch of match points but were not able to string enough points together to earn the win."
Grassi again capped the set with a spike after the teams exchanged points from a 24-all tie until the final point.
The Warriors were led by 15 kills and eight digs from Nikki Long and eight kills and three blocks from Brittany Dominguez. Kayla Hanus chipped in 36 assists and eight digs, while Libby Kern notched seven kills and three blocks.
"Although we are not mathematically out of the playoffs, our season is certainly in peril," Toon said. "We'll have to evaluate the use of our personnel and decide how to proceed from here."
Up next for WWCC is a Friday home match against Big Bend.