KENNEWICK, Wash. — Hermiston pushed Kennewick to the brink, but could not get past the Lions in an MCC/GSL District 8 loser-out game Thursday night at the Lions Den.
Kennewick escaped with a 25-19, 26-24, 22-25, 25-13 victory over the Bulldogs, earning a loser-out match Saturday against Kamiakin for a berth to state.
“They were digging everything, serving tough and capitalizing on our errors,” Kennewick coach Brandy Sonderland said of the Bulldogs. “They gave us a fight, for sure.”
After dropping the first two sets, Hermiston came out and took the lead for good in the third at 10-9.
The Bulldogs had set point at 24-18, but a couple of unforced errors extended play. Emma Combes sealed the win with a kill.
“They didn’t quit,” Hermiston coach Amy Dyck said of her team. “They have a lot of fight in them. Everyone who has seen us play, knows we don’t quit. We have players like Halee (Stubbs), who sacrifices herself until it’s over.”
In the fourth set, the Lions got strong play at the net from 6-foot middle Grace Morby (eight kills, six blocks) and 6-3 outside hitter Autumn Larson (13 kills, three blocks).
“I’m jealous of the size they have,” Dyck said. “It’s always fun to play Kennewick. They have great hitters and they don’t let anything touch the ground. Tonight, it went their way.”
Hermiston had the lead late in the second set at 23-22, but could not hold on. Hailey Dreier served the last two points of the set, with Morby putting down a kill for the win.
The Bulldogs (7-11) got 28 digs from Stubbs, and 18 assists, 13 digs and nine kills from Kendall Dowdy in the loss.
“(Stubbs) is fun to watch, and is a defensive threat,” Sonderland said. “They came out and were ready to compete and gave us a run for our money.”
Grace Vertrees added 14 kills and 10 digs for the Bulldogs, while Courtnee West had 19 assists. Combes had 10 kills and nine digs, and Kambree Baker five blocks and three kills.
For Kennewick (9-8), M’Kaylah Mangum led the way with 14 kills and 16 digs, while Dreier had 11 kills and two blocks. Maddie Gabers handed out 41 assists.
Sonderland said the Lions will have to clean up their game before Saturday, including their 16 service errors.
“We need to stay composed for Saturday,” she said.