The Mossyrock volleyball team is not leaving its perch atop the district.
After three byes, the Vikings’ run at the 1B District 4 tournament needed to only last one afternoon at Montesano, as they dispatched Willapa Valley in the semifinals before taking another hard-fought match against Naselle to win their fourth consecutive district title.
“Payton (Torrey) and Hailey Brooks have played on every single one of those teams as starters, and Caelyn (Marshall) and Paige (Houghtelling) have played on three of them,” Mossyrock coach Alex Nelson said. “It’s a pretty impressive record for those girls.”
Mossyrock’s win over Valley was a predictable 25-6, 25-11, 25-15 romp. But coming back for the championship match — with a State bid already under its belt — Naselle would prove to be its usual tough test.
“That was our main message before the game, that we could not come out flat in the first set, because they’re too good of a team, and they proved that, like the last time we saw them,” Nelson said.
The Vikings did come out flat, but came back after dropping the first set to win in four, 17-25, 25-20, 25-15, 27-25.
“I’m really proud of my team of how they responded to that,” Nelson said. “We had a really bad start in the first set, but the one thing we didn’t do is fall apart. We worked hard in the first set to narrow the gap but never quite got there. But in losing the first set, your team can go in two directions, and of course they did not give up. They showed a lot of composure, and ended up winning the next three.”
Houghtelling led the Vikings with a massive 18-kill effort on offense. She also logged 14 digs, as one of four Mossyrock players to crack double-digits.
“She not only hit amazingly on the outside, but she also hit from the back row really well,” Nelson said. “Just her best game of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Brooks added 10 kills and three aces for Mossyrock. Torrey put down nine kills and finished with 15 digs, one shy of Abbie Lovan’s team-leading 16.
Marshall dished out 15 assists. Cournyer had 21, and also led Mossyrock’s charge back in the second set with her serves.
“She had a rough set, like a lot of the girls in the first one, but in the second set she was the one who came through big, and had a huge serving run to win,” Nelson said. “Some great composure for a young player to go back in what feels like a must-have set, and she went back there with several tough serves at the end to win it.”
Mossyrock will head to Yakima this coming week, after learning of its seeding Sunday. The Vikings are one of two undefeated 1B teams left in the state — along with defending champions Oakesdale — and have a shot at the No. 1 seed heading into the tournament.