By Geno Ludwig/Staff Correspondent
The season always ends on a good note when a team’s last match is its best match. Even though Chewelah lost its district volleyball tournament match to Deer Park on Thursday, the Lady Cougars gave the third-seeded Stags a fight to the finish in all three sets.
Chewelah lost the match in three consecutive sets, but the improved performance level of the Cougars was surely more than the Stags expected.
Deer Park dominated the match in the earlier meeting of these two teams and expected to do the same in the first round of district play. The Stags did win the match, as expected, but Chewelah made them earn every point, including the overtime point to win the second set.
The scores were 25-23, 27-25, and 25-18.
The loss ended Chewelah’s season. The Cougars will say good-bye to two seniors, but the rest of the young team will return next year, including four juniors, three sophomores, and two freshmen. The improvement seen in this year’s team was mostly due to the maturing of these underclassmen, who, at the end of this season, were heading the stats in every category.
If these younger Cougars can stretch over the next several months, they could become league contenders next year. It was their lack of height that held them back this season against all of the tall teams in the league. Hopefully, the girls with tall dads, uncles, and brothers will experience a significant growth spurt. Jaelynn Skok tallied 24 digs to lead the Chewelah defense against Deer Park. Altogether, the Cougars had a season record 68 digs against the Stags, which kept them in contention point after point.
Elle Chalmers and Elizabeth Chalmers also had double-digit digs with 11 and 10, respectively. Kyrstan Miller had 9, Krislyn Koler had 7, Bailey Smith had 4, and Andrea Franks, Savannah Nupp, and Skyla Tunison each had 1.
Led by Bailey Smith, Chewelah hammered 28 kills against the third-best team in the league. Smith had 10 kills and Chalmers had 8 to top the Cougars at the net. Miller had 4, Koler had 3, Tunison had 2, and Franks had 1.
Chalmers led the Cougar defense at the net with 3 blocks. Smith had 2, along with one apiece by Franks and Tunison.
Together, Chalmers and Elle Carpenter set 22 assists. Koler had Chewelah’s lone ace serve.