With its season on the line Thursday night, the Hermiston volleyball team did what it need to do to stay alive in the Region 5/8 tournament.
Sophia Streeter had seven kills, and Ireland McDonough had eight aces and 13 digs to lead the Bulldogs (7-11) to a 25-15, 25-20, 25-23 victory over visiting Shadle Park.
“We like to keep people on their toes,” Hermiston coach Amy Dyck said. “Keep them guessing. I encouraged the girls not to take them lightly. Shadle Park was in the tournament for a reason. They have the tools and they have a lot of volleyball knowledge. We didn’t want to overlook them.”
The Bulldogs will face Kamiakin at noon Saturday at Southridge High School in a loser-out match. The Braves swept North Central to advance.
Mt. Spokane won the regional title and an automatic trip to state with a 25-23, 25-14, 25-17 victory over Southridge.
The Hermiston-Kamiakin winner will play Southridge for the last berth to state next week in Yakima.
The Bulldogs got off to a quick start over the Highlanders (3-13). Leading 6-5 in the first set, McDonough took to the service line and reeled off 10 consecutive points for a 16-5 lead.
Shadle Park would hang a few points on the scoreboard, but would not get closer than seven points down the stretch. McDonough served two consecutive aces for the win.
The Highlanders had no quit in them. They pushed the Bulldogs in the second set, and forged a 19-19 tie before Hermiston pulled away.
Scout Reagan gave the Bulldogs a 24-19 lead with four consecutive points, and Avery Treadwell laid down a kill to give Hermiston a 2-0 lead.
With a victory on the horizon, the Bulldogs went to work in the third set.
A big service run by Reagan gave the Bulldogs a 16-6 lead, but a series of unforced errors and a kill by Shadle Park’s Megan Gallagher had the Highlanders within 17-10.
Hermiston took a 24-17 lead on an ace by McDonough, but a net serve gave the Highlanders the ball.
Freshman Chloe Flerchinger strung together five consecutive points for Shadle Park to pull her team within 24-23. On the ensuing play, the Highlanders were called for being in the net, giving Hermiston the win.
“I’m proud of them for finishing it in three,” Dyck said. “We wanted to take care of business on our side of the net. I’m proud of them for battling back and not giving up.”
Reagan added six kills and six digs for Hermiston, while Kendall Dowdy added 12 assists and nine digs, Halee Stubbs 19 digs, and Courtnee West 14 assists and four digs.
Gallagher led Shadle Park with four kills and six digs, while Kaylee Brister had two blocks and Flerchinger three kills.