EUGENE, Ore. – Knowing that they have to win out to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Evergreen Geoducks picked up a huge four-set win over the Northwest Christian Beacons in a Cascade Conference volleyball match on Friday night at Morse Event Center in Eugene, Ore.
The match got off to an ominous start for the Geoducks (xxx) as the Beacons (xxx) scored the first six points of the night and continued to push the advantage, leading 12-5. Evergreen finally woke up, using a 10-3 run to tie the set at 15-15. The frame stayed tight the rest of the way but a pair of blocks by Brandee Victorino (Kauai, Hawai’i/Waimea HS/Tacoma CC) gave the Geoducks the 27-25 set one win.
In the second set, it was the Geoducks who got off to a hot start as Evergreen led 10-5 early. A 6-1 run tied things up at 11 and the teams kept it close before NCU blew the frame open with a 6-0 run before taking the set, 25-20, to even the match at one game apiece.
The third set was tight from the beginning as the Geoducks began to pull away late, leading 21-17, but the Beacons battled back to tie it at 23-23. Evergreen dug deep, using a kill by Victorino and a rare attack error from NCU’s Chandler Gabrio to earn the 25-23 win to take the lead.
The final set was another nailbiter as the Geoducks came back from being down 17-12 to take a 21-19 lead but the Beacons came back as well, forcing extra points. Trailing 26-25, the Geoducks rattled off three straight points to clinch the match with a 28-26 set four win.
Evergreen was led by 12 kills from senior Cassidy Watkins (Tucson, Ariz./Mountain View HS/Trevecca Nazarene Univ.) and 10 from Natimia Barker-Doss (Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS/Pierce College). Kelsey Delagrange (Longview, Wash./Kelso HS/Mt. Hood CC) had 39 assist while Victorino finished with six blocks as the Geoducks recorded nine total blocks on the night. The win marks the third straight Friday that Evergreen has posted a win and it is the first time since 2003 that the Geoducks have won multiple road matches in conference play.
Northwest Christian was led by 14 kills each from Gabrio and Maren Mansfield. Janel Fetters finished with 13 kills with Taylor Richardson posted 11 on the night. Cori Wallace put up an incredible 57 assists on 59 total NCU kills while Dana McDowan defended the back row with 25 digs. The Beacons were hurt by 16 service errors, compared with just six service aces.
The Geoducks will try to keep their postseason hopes alive on Saturday night when they travel to Salem, Ore. to take on Corban. First serve with the Warriors is set for 7 p.m.