YAKIMA — One match after coming out slow to open the 1B state tourney, Mossyrock turned on the afterburners and jettisoned Mary Walker in straight sets (25-17, 25-8, 25-10) to avdance to the state semifinals Thursday in Yakima.
The No. 2 Vikings opened the tournament Thursday afternoon with a sweep of Shoreline Christian, but didn’t look like their dominant selves. Coach Alex Nelson credited that to most of her players being in the state tourney for the first time, due to the 2020 tourney being canceled.
The Vikings played it safe that first round, winning matches by five, six and seven points. If the lights of the SunDome were a bit too bright that first match, the Vikings certainly adjusted by round two.
Paige Houghtelling hammered 15 kills with no errors and the Vikings were working in unison like a machine against the No. 7 Charger, dispatching them easily in crowd-pleasing fashion. It was the second set, a 25-8 win, where everything started clicking.
“I was a little worried this morning but, man, that second set, I came over to our huddle and said, ‘Welcome, welcome to state,’ because this is what it should feel like. Boy, that was fun.”
Mossyrock ripped off a long rally at the end of the second set to drain the Chargers of any momentum they had built up. And when the third set rolled around, the Vikings could taste victory on the horizon and didn’t let up until match point as the players jumped in celebration.
Everything was on-point, the serving, which wasn’t there in the first round,
“Incredible hitting by Paige, Payton (Torrey) also hit really well, Hailey (Brooks) was serving like she does. She’s my first server for a reason,” Nelson said. “Our setters did a great job distributing and getting it to the person who’s putting it away. Our libero, Abby (Lovan), did a great job passing it up to our setters consistently. All around, a great night for the whole team.”
The Vikings have now qualified for the state semifinals five seasons in a row, not counting 2020’s canceled state tourney.
Mossyrock (21-1) will now face the winner of Wilbur-Creston/Keller and St. John-Endicott/LaCross at 11:45 a.m., Friday, in the semifinals.