DAYTON — Walla Walla Valley Academy won its final match of the regular volleyball season in dramatic fashion Tuesday, defeating Southeast 2B League foe Dayton in a five-set match, 25-18, 25-23, 18-25, 17-25 and 16-14.
The Knights finish league play at 9-1, 12-4 overall, and with sole possession of first place after Tri-Cities Prep defeated Asotin Tuesday. The Panthers finished second in league with an 8-2 record, followed by Tri-Cities Prep 6-4 and Dayton 5-5.
Asotin, Tri-Cities Prep and Dayton will represent the SEB in regional tournament play at West Valley High School in Spokane on Nov. 3 when they will be joined by five teams from the Bi-County League. Four teams will qualify for the Class 2B state tournament the following weekend in Yakima.
WWVA, which won’t participate in the regional tournament because of its religious obligations, will travel to Angwin, Calif., for the Academy Women’s Volleyball Tournament that begins Thursday at Pacific Union College.
WWVA coach Scott Schafer said a poor service game partially led to the Knights’ third- and fourth-set losses Tuesday night.
“The first two games we were serving 87, 90 percent, the next two we served 77, 75 percent,” Schafer said. “We just really struggled in the third and fourth sets, but they hung in there. I’m really proud of them.”
Megan Gregg led the way with 17 kills for WWVA with a a 20-for-22 performance at the service line and six aces.
Helena Brown had 22 assists and was 7-for-7 at the line. Caroline Larson had five blocks and was 12-for-13 in service with four kills. Amy Arnzen had 30 digs and was 18-for-21 with an ace and five kills. Rylee Sutton scored four aces on 10-of-15 serving and had two kills.
Five seniors — Gregg, Larson, Brown, Ashley Serl and Chanel Scotson — played their final home match for the Knights.
McKayla Bickelhaupt collected 11 kills and 17 digs for the visiting Bulldogs. Jessica Tate totaled 24 assists, 11 digs and was 25-for-25 serving while Courtney Mings added seven kills and 12 digs.
Sarah Phillips chipped in 11 digs and was 12-for-12 serving. Madison Mings added nine kills and five blocks, and Bryena Myrick scored five blocks.
“We made too many unforced errors in the fifth set,” Dayton coach Shannon Turner said. “It was a back and forth match, very exciting and competitive, but we need to work on being more consistent and finishing games.
“We had problems all night,” she added. “We were up by five or more points in the first two games but couldn’t finish. It was good that we won games four and five, but then we got to the fifth game and couldn’t finish it off again.”
Dayton will travel to Pomeroy Thursday for a non-league makeup match, then begins preparations for regionals.
“We’ll have a little practice Friday, take the weekend off and then go and watch Walla Walla Community College play Monday night in Walla Walla,” Turner said. “We will do dinner, watch the Warriors and do a little team building. We have quite a few days off and we don’t want to drag it out.”