Mountaineers stave off gritty Loggers in sweep


It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Rainier volleyball team on Monday at Onalaska, but the Mountaineers did enough to sweep a young Logger team 25-13, 25-21, 25-20.

It was clear early on that the Loggers came to play, as they quickly took a 9-5 lead in the opening set.

Rainier (12-3, 7-1 C2BL) quickly settled in, however, going on a 20-4 run to take control of the match.

As the set went on, the Mountaineers began communicating better as a group, something that coach Carrie Ooms says allows them to play up to their potential.

“Our energy for us is big, communication is big,” Ooms said. “When we’re not playing as well, it’s the same thing. Our energy kind of sinks and our communication goes down, (and) we don’t play as well when that happens.”

After scoring the first five points of the second set, it appeared the Mountaineers were set to run away with it against an Onalaska team that fields several freshman and eighth-graders.

Instead, the Loggers (8-8, 3-5 C2BL) responded with a run of their own, eventually tying the set at 18 all. At times, though, they also couldn’t get out of their own way.

There were several miscommunications and unforced errors on the defensive end, mishaps that prevented the Loggers from sustaining momentum for long periods of time.

“Just made eighth- and ninth-grade mistakes,” Onalaska coach Susan Gordon said. “They just have to get over the next little hump to know that they’re capable, and we just haven’t flipped over that edge.”

The third set was similar, as the Loggers made a late push, but didn’t have enough in the tank to match the depth the Mountaineers deployed.

Janess Blackburn and Olivia Earsley each had 20 digs to lead the Rainier defense, while Brooklynn Swenson tallied 15 assists and 11 digs of her own.

Acacia Murphy had led the way with 12 kills, while Allyson Ooms had eight, and Katelyn Eckroth also dished out 12 assists.

“We kind of win and lose as a team,” Ooms said. “I depend on all of my players to help us get through as well as my bench. I utilize my whole team.

Like several other times this season, freshman Emalie Jacoby led the way for the Loggers, finishing with 17 digs, 15 kills, 10 assists and four aces.

While Jacoby’s stats jump off the page, Gordon added that her impact goes beyond the box score.

“She brings everything to our team,” Gordon said. “And she allows everyone else to be successful because she can do things with the ball that makes everybody more successful … Everybody feels successful when they’re with her and they know they can do it with her.”

Capri McGraw added 11 digs, Braelyn Badd added 11 assists, and Rebecca Thayer and Leah Hamilton combined for five blocks at the net.

Rainier will have the chance to clinch the top spot in the Central 2B league, as they’ll head to 8-0 Adna on Wednesday.

The winner of the league will host half of the first- and second-round matchups at the district tournament on Saturday. Raymond, the Pacific league winner, will host the other half of the matchups.

The Loggers are currently in seventh in the Central 2B league, which would give them the final spot at the district tournament. They can clinch a spot at the district tournament on Wednesday with a win at Toledo or a Winlock loss against Kalama.