After a tough game out of the gate against a scrappy R.A. Long squad, the Black Hills volleyball team swept Shelton in straight sets (25-17, 25-23, 25-15) to keep their season alive at the 2A District 4 tournament Thursday in Tumwater.
The top-seeded Wolves had a hard time keeping up with a hungrier Lumberjills squad, ranked fourth in the Great St. Helens League, dropping the matchup in four sets to fall to the loser’s bracket. Though they managed to win the first set, they dropped the ensuing three (20-25, 25-20, 25-14, 25-19).
The Wolves were routinely out-hustled in the loss, and committed too many errors to stay in the latter three sets against their southern foes, handing the Wolves their first loss in almost two months.
“R.A. Long is an awesome team, coming in as the No. 1 seed, we had a target on our backs and they really caught us on our heels,” Wolves coach Paige Walker said. “The level of that league down south is extremely high. They really outworked us and caught us on our heels and we struggled to adjust.”
The Wolves then had to deal with that loss, and move forward in a do-or-die match against Shelton later in the afternoon. Though they at first struggled to reconcile with a loss, something that had only happened twice this year, Black Hills responded.
“It was good for them, in a way, it was kind of a reality check,” Walker said. “We did an okay job bouncing back. It was a bit of a grind sometimes and there were some painful moments, but I’m proud of them for preserving and bouncing back from their first loss in two months. We survived and lived to see another day.”
Now on Saturday, back at Tumwater High School, the Wolves will take on the loser of Tumwater’s semifinal matchup with GSHL No. 1 Columbia River. That game will be a loser-out, winner to state matchup at 1:30 p.m.
“Pretty epic,” Walker said. “A big theme for us this year has been, ‘Play the team, not the reputation.’ That’s so true, especially when it comes to playing two powerhouse programs like Columbia River and Tumwater. You just have to take the team in front of you and work through it. Never be scared of anyone, never bow down to anyone, you got to work through that stuff.”