Up against three Blue Mountain Community College blockers, WWCC's Desiree Nielson (center) hits a kill home during their match at the Dietrich Dome.
Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.
WALLA WALLA — For three games, Wednesday night’s NWAACC Eastern Region volleyball match between top-ranked and undefeated Blue Mountain and No. 2 Walla Walla Community College was tight and fiercely fought.
Game one was decided by two points while sets two and three ended with three-point spreads.
But in the fourth game, the Timberwolves used Warrior errors to fashion a 13-0 run that blew open a close stanza and the visitors left the Dietrich Dome with a 28-26, 22-25, 25-22, 25-13 victory that moved them into sole possession of first place in the East standings.
BMCC improved to 7-0 in league and 25-0 overall while the Warriors slipped to 6-1 and 19-5.
“We played amazing volleyball in the first three games,” WWCC coach Tim Toon said. “The long rallies and quality of play was as good as anything you would see on TV. It was a classic match with the No. 1 and 2 teams in the NWAACC battling to be top dog.”
The opening game had 11 ties and five lead changes. The lead changed hands for the last time on a kill by Blue Mountain’s Kendra DeHoog that put the Timberwolves in front 27-26.
A loud, partisan crowd witnessed a second game in which the score was knotted on nine occasions and the teams exchanged leads twice. Kills by Reese Amy and Renee Baumann began a 6-2 WWCC spurt that closed out game two. Desiree Nielson contributed back-to-back terminations in the middle of the game-ending surge.
BMCC claimed a 5-3 edge in game three and maintained the lead from then on. Walla Walla closed within a single point six times, but was unable to equalize.
In the decisive fourth game, the Warriors led 10-8 before a rash of errors — six to be exact — helped seal their fate.
“Five weeks ago, we lost to Blue Mountain and it was not even close,” Toon said. “Tonight, we showed how much we’ve improved. They are 25-0, but I like our chances against them at the end of the season.”
Walla Walla stat leaders were Nielson (27 kills, eight digs), Baumann (10 kills, 15 digs), Amy (nine kills, two blocks), Courtney Cosdon (53 assists, 16 digs), Jess Smith (38 digs), Delaney Fisher (nine digs), and Taylor Lancaster (nine kills).
“Desi was an offensive monster – unstoppable,” Toon said. “If we had gone into a fifth game, she would have broken the school kill record of 33 in a match. Renee displayed tough and rugged play. She contributed nicely to the offense. Courtney set as well as Blue Mountain’s All-American setter. Jess flew around in the back court and made some amazing plays. All of Delaney’s digs were on hard hit balls.
“This loss will helps us recalibrate a little,” Toon said. “We had been winning too easy. Now we know what it is going to take to be the best. I am proud of this team.”
The Warriors will step out of league play on Saturday when they host New Hope Christian at 2 p.m.