OLYMPIA, Wash. – Sophomore setter Kelsey Delagrange (Longview, Wash./Kelso HS/Mt. Hood CC) set a new NAIA season best with 72 assists as the Evergreen Geoducks defeated the Northwest Eagles, 3-2, in a Cascade Conference volleyball match on Thursday night at CRC Gymnasium in Olympia, Wash.
The Geoducks (7-15, 6-11 CCC) and Eagles (7-20, 3-14 CCC) kept things close in the opening set as the in-state rivals saw eight tie scores and six lead changes in the first set. Evergreen got hot at the right time, using a 5-1 run at the end of the set to earn the 25-20 victory to take the match lead.
The second set was just as tight as the first as the frame saw 17 ties and six lead changes as the teams were forced to play extras and a trio of attack errors by the Geoducks gave Northwest a 28-26 win to even the match. NU had their top hitting set of the match in the second, connecting for 18 kills with three errors on 49 swings.
After the Eagles took the initial lead in the third set, the Geoducks overcame the early deficit as the host squad earned a 25-19 set three win with junior Shelby Clark (Tumwater, Wash./Black Hills HS/Tacoma CC) earning the final two kills for Evergreen.
NU was determined to keep playing in the fourth set as the Eagles connected for 18 kills on 53 swings en route to a 25-23 set four win, forcing the decisive fifth set.
Unfortunately for Northwest, the Geoducks were nearly unstoppable in the final frame, connecting on 12 kills with no errors on 33 swings to clinch the win with a 15-9 set five win. It marked the first win for Evergreen over Northwest since Oct. 17, 2003.
Evergreen was led by 22 kills from Victoria Love (Seaside, Calif./Seaside HS/Hartnell College). Cassidy Watkins (Tucson, Ariz./Mountain View HS/Trevecca Nazarene Univ.) added 21 kills while Clark finished with 14. None of the Geoduck hitters would have been as dominant if it hadn’t been for the play of Delagrange, who finished with a school-record 72 assists to set a new top mark in the NAIA this season.
Northwest was led by 18 kills from Olympia native Sarah Stoker. Hannah Hanson, from nearby Tenino, had 15 kills with Dakota Adams, who is not from Thurston County, finished with 12 kills on the night. NU setter Christian Gleb had a strong night as well, recording 54 assists. Leia Roy led all players with 39 digs.
The Geoducks and Eagles wrap up the 2013 season on Friday night when they meet again in Olympia. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at CRC Gymnasium.