By Geno Ludwig/Staff Correspondent
Chewelah let two golden opportunities to rise in the league standings slip away last week when the Lady Cougars lost matches to Colville and Newport.
The Indians and Grizzlies reside in the two steps immediately above Chewelah on the league ladder. Wins would have vaulted the Cougars over these two teams and into fourth place on the leader board, but they did not take advantage of the scoring possibilities.
On Tuesday night (Sept. 27), the Cougars needed consistent play against Colville but were not able to settle into an offensive rhythm, losing to the visiting Indians in three sets: 25-23, 25-16, and 25-20. There were short segments where Chewelah played competitively, nestled in long stretches where a lack of offense was evident.
“We are steadily improving, but we still have a long way to go,” said Coach Shirley Baker. “We are still really struggling to get the ball to our hitters. We don’t get the ball set, because we aren’t making good passes to our setter.”
At Newport on Thursday (Sept. 29), the Cougars fought the Grizzlies through five sets, but yielded 15-10 in the final battle.
After losing the first two sets, 25-16 and 25-23, they countered with back to back wins, both by 25-23 scores. Then, however, with the match tied at two sets apiece, Chewelah was defeated in the deciding encounter.
Nonetheless, this match demonstrated how much the Cougars have improved since the first meeting of these two teams last month when Newport swept the match in three straight sets.
The losses left the Cougars anchored in sixth place in the current league standings, overlooking Riverside and Medical Lake. Newport and Colville continue to share fourth place.
Their failure to finish strong cost the Lady Cougars their first set against Colville on Tuesday. With the score tied at 22-22, Chewelah never scored another point. Colville scored three of the next four points for the 25-23 win.
In fact, unlike the first half of the set, the Cougars struggled to generate an offense through the remainder of that set. There were 12 Chewelah kills up to the midway point of the set, with Elizabeth Chalmers and Krislyn Koler doing most of the hammering. Also scoring kills were Jaelynn Skok, Bailey Smith and Karilee DeSautel.
Then, there were none. Points later in the set came from Colville errors, not from Cougar hitters, and the result was a 25-23 Colville win.
Chewelah’s offensive errors, not from Cougar hitters, and the result was a 25-23 Colville win.
Chewelah’s offensive scoring drought continued into the second set. The Cougars had only two kills, one from Chalmers and the other from Koler, leading to a 25-16 Colville victory.
In the third set, Chewelah stayed alive on kills by Skyla Tunison, Ellie Wharton, Chalmers, and DeSautel.
However, as in the opening set, the Cougars did not finish with a flurry of offensive firepower at the net. The final Cougar kill was pounded with the score at 15-17. Still, they battled the Indians to a 25-20 ending, with Colville sweeping the match in three straight sets.
Chalmers led the Cougar offense with seven kills. Koler had six, Tunison and DeSautel each had two. There were 20 total kills.
Elle Carpenter set eight assists. Chalmers had five. Kyrstan Miller had two. Chewelah had 16 total assists. Skok led the team in digs with nine. Emily Adams had eight, Koler and Chalmers each had seven, and Carpenter had five. Tunison had three blocks, while Chalmers and DeSautel each had two.
At Newport on Thursday, the Cougars came so close to bringing home a league win, but, again, that strong finish eluded them. With the sets knotted at two-apiece, they lost the decisive set to the Grizzlies.
Three of the first four sets ended with 25-23 scores. That is how close tight the scoring was. Spearheaded by Krislyn Koler and Bailey Smith, Chewelah won two of those sets in a come from behind rally that forced a fifth set to be played.
Both hitters finished the match with nine kills. Elle Carpenter set 18 assists as she fed the front row.
Back row play was much improved at Newport with Jaelynn Skok finishing the match with an astounding 31 digs. Skyla Tunison had two blocks at the net.
Springdale sweeps Kettle Falls (Sept. 29)
The Chargers got back above .500 with a 25-15, 26-24, 25-19 victory over Kettle Falls last Thursday. Brooklynn Schurger led Springdale with seven kills while Mattea Gines added 16 digs.
The Chargers also got six assists from Shante Carthens and six aces from Chelsia Albee.
Wellpinit picks up first victory (Sept. 27)
Christina Carden-Flett had 17 kills, six aces and three blocks as Wellpinit notched its first victory of the season last Tuesday with a five-set 21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-11 win over Cusick.
Lachelle Boyd dished out 24 assists while Lindsay Salinas notched 11 digs.
Northport sweeps Lions (Sept. 27)
The Lions fell to Northport in three, 25-14, 27-25, 25-16 last Tuesday despite 10 assists by Cooney and nine digs by Steele.
It was Columbia’s fifth loss of the season and Northport improved to 3-4 on the year.