WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Community College inched closer to a showdown with Spokane for the East Region title in Wednesday NWAACC volleyball action.
The Warriors overcame a slow start in game one, dominated set two, and came from behind in set three to take a 3-0 sweep of Treasure Valley.
"We're 30-7, so we figure out ways to win," Warrior coach Tim Toon said. "We didn't always play as clean as we wanted to, but kept fighting. This team has helped re-establish the tradition of this program that we lost the last couple of years. They'll go down as a team that brought back the kind of volleyball we are used to in this dome (Dietrich)."
The Chukars served two consecutive aces to open the first set, and neither team led by more than a point until Libby Kern nailed consecutive kills to put the Warriors up 11-9.
Behind the net play of Kern and sophomore Brittany Dominguez - two blocks and a kill - the Warriors took control and jumped to a 24-14 lead. Renee Baumann finished this one with a kill to send the Warriors up 1-0 with a 25-14 win.
"We always seem to start off slow," Dominguez said. "Then we push forward. I guess it works for us as we've been doing well all year."
Kayla Hanus used a serving ace to lead the Warriors to a 3-0 lead to open set two. The Chukars never recovered, never threatened, and never led.
Laekynn Culpepper finished this one from the service line as Culpepper led a 4-0 Warrior run with a service ace, got an assist from Dominguez with a kill and block, and the Warriors were up 2-0.
The Chukars didn't go quietly. Treasure Valley took a 2-0 game-three lead, and, following a Lacey Nauman kill, had the lead at 23-20.
"We had to fight through each point and not let up from the previous game," Dominguez said. "They (Treasure Valley) are coming back to fight twice as hard. We had to keep up with them."
Culpepper went to the service line with WWCC down 23-20.
"For stretches in game three, they (the Chukars) were a very high-quality team," Toon said. "I think everybody on our team knew we were going to win that third game. They (WWCC) just wanted to put a little suspense in it. If we can stay in that higher gear, we have a chance to win a NWAACC title."
A Desiree Nielson kill and the Warriors cut the lead to 23-21.
"Once we get one kill, everybody's attitude just gets so much better," Dominguez said. "From that point, we just take off."
A Chukar kill went wide, and it was 23-22; Nielson with a kill into the deep left corner, 23-23; a Dominguez kill for a 24-23 Warrior lead, the first since a brief 10-9 lead.; a Culpepper serve led to a Dominguez-Nielson block to complete the 25-23 come back and finish the 3-0 sweep.
Dominguez led the WWCC hitters with 10 kills. Kern and Nielson each collected seven kills.
"I give it 100 percent every time," Dominguez said of her hitting. "We couldn't have done anything without our passers and our setters."
Hanus led the Warrior setters with 23 assists.
On defense, Christine Deitz returned several bullet Chukar hits and finished with eight digs.
Culpepper and Hanus led the defenders with 15 digs each, and Sydney Porter chipped in 10.
Dominguez led the blockers with six.
The win improves the Warriors to 10-2 in NWAACC East Region play, one game behind Spokane, whom the Warriors host in the regular-season finale Wednesday, but first there is a trip to Big Bend Friday.
"They (Big Bend) are a really scrappy team," Dominguez said. "We can't overlook them. They will come with a lot of energy because everybody wants to beat us. We have to be prepared for everything."
"Friday, against Big Bend, could be a trap game," Toon said. "We've got to train hard and take them one at a time to set up that showdown (with Spokane)."