Cougars sweep Medical Lake for sixth place in NEA League standings
By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff
The Chewelah Cougars are on their way to the district volleyball tournament! A three-set victory over visiting Medical Lake last Tuesday night glued the Cougar girls into sixth place in the final league standings, guaranteeing them a berth into post-season play.
Playing without setter Elle Carpenter, who sat the game out with an injury, Elizabeth Chalmers took over the setting duties. Chalmers’ switch from hitter to setter reduced Chewelah’s front row attack, but some of the younger Cougars got in some good experience at the net, and they clubbed their share of kills in the process.
Chewelah won the opening set by a 25-14 score behind the hitting of Kyrstan Miller, Krislyn Koler, Jaelynn Skok and Bailey Smith. With the score knotted at 6-6, the Cougars went to work at the net and at the back line. In addition to six kills, they scored on two blocks by Miller and Skyla Tunison, and a pair of block-kills from Miller and Chalmers, and five ace serves by Koler.
Leading 17-12, Chewelah scored five consecutive points on kills by Skok and Smith, along with back-to- back ace serves by Koler. These points gave the Cougars a nine-point lead, and they finished strong for a 25-14 win. Chewelah lost its rhythm in the second set, partly due to generous substitutions coming off the bench to give the starters some rest. Midway through the set, the score tied at 13-13, when the Cougars finally started to slowly pull away. Kills from Koler, Miller, Chalmers, and Tunison gave Chewelah a 19-15 lead. Savannah Nupp ended the set with a kill for a closer than expected 25-20 Cougar win.
The Cougars regained their rhythm in the third set, winning by a 25-9 score as the younger players kept the scorekeeper busy. Chewelah scored the first eight points with freshman Tunison and sophomore Smith combined for five kills.
Then, Skok took a long turn at the serving line, as Medical Lake struggled to get the ball over the net. With a 14-5 lead, the Cougars closed the door. Two ace serves apiece by Nupp and Chalmers, along with kills from Andrea Franks and Smith, led a strong finish by the Cougars for a 16-point victory.
Smith led the Cougars at the net with 7 kills. Tunison had 6, Koler had 4, Miller and Skok each had 3, Chalmers and Franks had 2 apiece, and Ellie Wharton and Nupp each had 1. Miller and Tunison each had 2 blocks.
Smith, Franks, and Chalmers had 1. Koler topped Chewelah servers with 6 aces. Nupp had 3, Chalmers had 2, and Miller and Smith each had 1.
Skok led the back row with 6 digs. Nupp had 5, Koler had 4, Wharton had 3, and Miller, Franks, Chalmers, and Tunison each had 2. Chalmers set 27 assists. The win over Medical Lake boosted Chewelah to a 4-9 record. However, Thursday night’s loss at Colville ended the league season at 4-10 for the Cougars. The set scores were close, but the host Indians won all three of them: 25-15, 25-17, and 25-21.
District play begins on Thursday, October 27 at Freeman, where Chewelah will meet Deer Park at 5 p.m.
At the same time, Colville will play Newport at Lakeside. Both are loser-out games. The winners will advance to face Freeman and Lakeside, the league’s co-champions.