YAKIMA — The Napavine volleyball team had one run in its tank to open its time at the 2B state tournament, but lost its momentum after the first set in a 25-27, 26-24, 25-16, 25-16 loss to No. 9 Toutle Lake on Thursday.
“We just started playing too safe, and you can’t play safe at State, at all, period,” Napavine coach Monica Dailey said. “There’s no room for that. You make a lot of errors when you play safe. I think they just let the nerves get to them.”
Keira O’Neill led the Tigers with 16 kills, while also sending back four blocks and logging three aces. Morgan Hamilton put up 13 kills to go along with a team-high 35 digs.
Anna Thompson had six kills and a block, while Grace Gall racked up four kills, three aces, and 16 digs.
Facing the Ducks for the third time in two weeks, Napavine trailed by as many as seven points late, 23-16. From there, O’Neill took over, with three kills in a five-point span to narrow the gap. Toutle Lake got it to set point at 24-21, but four straight Napavine points got the Tigers out of the hole, and they went on to win 27-25.
Napavine nearly did the same thing in the second set, falling behind 18-13 before coming back to lead 21-20. But this time, the Tigers had their burst too early, with Toutle regaining momentum to win its own set in extra points.
And from there, the Ducks just pulled away. Toutle Lake ended the third set on a 9-4 run to win, and finished the fourth on a 13-2 run to seal the match.
It was the first time the Ducks and Tigers hadn’t played a match that went the full five sets, with both teams knowing each other way better than any other first-round opponents in the SunDome on Thursday.
“Everybody knows how everybody in our district feels about the bracket,” Dailey said. “But at the end of the day, you still have to win your games, and we didn’t. They came out ready to play, Toutle Lake did. And they didn’t let up at all. We did.”
Napavine will get another District 4 opponent in its second match of the day, falling to the seventh-place bracket. The Tigers will take on No. 16 Forks, which was swept by No. 1 Kalama to start its day, in a loser-out match.
“We’re going to play fast and hard, and aggressive,” Dailey said. “It’s do or die, the season’s on the line.”