Looking to replace some key losses from last year’s team, Wilson Rams head coach Jenna Elliott may have found them – namely Spanaway Lake transfer Sojournah Channel – as Wilson would come up with a hard fought 3-1 win over the Yelm Lady Tornadoes in their season opener on Sept. 4.
“We need to work on finishing games, but give Yelm much credit for hanging tough all afternoon,” Elliott said.
The long and athletic Rams were looking for separation, but could not find much from the tough and gritty Tornadoes for much of the match in the 25-18, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22 win. That’s when Channel took over, controlling much of the match from her setter and outside hitter positions with her athleticism.
“I was excited for this match against Yelm,” said the junior, who led the Rams with 14 kills and 26 digs on the afternoon.
Wilson would coast for much of the first game, but would have trouble the rest of the day. One of the keys to the success for Channel’s day was the play of Lady Rams’ setter junior Rachel Russell.
“Rachel was great, she was fantastic with her sets all day long,” said Channel.
Having won the first two sets and leading the third 6-2, the pesky Tornadoes would go on a run to survive and play another set before Wilson would finally put them away.
“Once we find that much needed leadership, we’ll begin to become more consistent on the court,” Elliott said.
“I’m gradually beginning to become more familiar with my teammates,” said Channel, who also credited the play of fellow front liners Tia Briggs and Alexis Slater.
The thought of this team getting better as the season progresses has Elliott excited for its possibilities. “Once these ladies get to know each other, we could become a real good team.”
By Steve Mullen
STADIUM FALLS TO PUYALLUP
Replacing four starters is a tough enough task for any volleyball squad. Having to begin the
season against Puyallup – a 4A state title contender this year – proved to be too difficult for
the Stadium Tigers, as despite a valiant effort, the Tigers fell 25-14, 25-19, 25-11 at home
on Sept. 4.
“That middle set we competed with them, I thought we did a really good job,” said Stadium
head coach John Dillard. “They just have way too many horses for us.”
The Tigers stayed with Puyallup early in the first set behind the all-out hustle of senior
libero Helena Stout, and a couple of impressive kills from junior outside hitter Angela Yun.
Yun totaled five kills in the first set alone, and finished tied for a team-high with nine kills and added three digs.
“She just came out without much fear and fired it,” said Dillard of Yun.
Stadium then battled toe to toe with the Vikings in the second set, forcing Puyallup into several mistakes and riding the play of outside hitter Tabi Webb, who took over. The senior had three early kills as the Tigers clung to an 11-11 tie midway through the set.
“Puyallup, they have such a good front line that they knew we were going to set her and they were already set up,” Dillard said. “Even in that situation she adjusted, made some lined shots and put the ball where they weren’t and got us some kills anyway.”
The Vikings closed the set on a 14-8 run, and got off to a 17-7 lead on the way to breezing through the third set. But for Dillard and his Tigers, it was a valuable experience.
“What we got to do today was play at a higher level, higher speed,” Dillard said. “The game was much faster today than we’ve been able to practice.
“We’ll have a couple matches where we’ll be able to play a little slower and get a little better rhythm, and then we’ll see how we test out against some of the better teams.”
Webb finished with nine kills and five digs, while Stout led the Tigers’ defensive effort by tallying 11 digs.
By Jeremy Helling