EPHRATA — It all came down to passing in Tuesday night’s CWAC volleyball match in The Jungle.
Ephrata was spot on with its delivery, while Othello struggled. The Tigers maintained a piece of the CWAC volleyball lead with a 3-0 victory, handing the Huskies their second conference loss.
Both programs are looking for some leadership, having just seven seniors between them. The Tigers (5-2, 3-0 CWAC) are sorting things out, while the Huskies (3-4, 1-2) are still looking.
“We’re struggling right now and we’re trying to work through some things,” said Othello coach Steve Parris after Tuesday’s 25-14, 25-21, 25-17 loss. “We graduated eight, so we’re a fairly young team. The attitude and energy will dictate what we do.”
The Tigers controlled the opening set from start-to-finish and held onto a 21-19 lead to win the second. Madison Martin, a 5-foot-11, senior put one down to make it 22-19 and Paige Davis, a 5-5 junior, hit through the block to set up set point and the Tigers closed out the second set to take control of the situation.
“I think we were placing our kills well tonight. We had good back row passing to set it up,” Davis said. “We’ve stepped it up once league started. We’re passing better and playing more as a team.”
Othello tied things in the third set at 14-14, but Ephrata scored three straight points on Denali Sheneman’s service and put together another nice little run on senior Kiana Miller’s service to take a 22-17 lead. Isabel Buchert and Hannah Goodspeed stuffed Othello’s Alyssa Freeman on the double and the night ended with a service ace by Davis.
Martin had a team-high nine kills and Owens finished with eight. Miller had 17 digs and Buchert had 13 assists.
Mykiah Hollenbeck led Othello with 11 kills and Freeman added 10.
“Our goal was to use all of our tools tonight and hit better. You don’t have to swing hard to put the ball away. We were able to move the ball with a tip and get it to go down,” Ephrata coach Britney MacLeod said. “We were able to feed Madi Martin a lot and Paige Davis and end up with the kill. We were able to set every pass up. When we pass well we can run our middles and tonight we were able to feed our middles a lot more, which helps our defense get the ball to where it needs to go.”
Prosser (7-2, 3-0) and Ephrata (5-2, 3-0) are currently on top of the CWAC with seven matches remaining in the regular season. There is still plenty of volleyball left to play, but the Prosser match on senior night to end the season is certainly one date Tiger fans are circling on the calendar.
“We’ve been in the middle of the pack the past few years, but I feel we’re going to push to the top of the CWAC,” MacLeod said. “Prosser beat Ellensburg in four, so it looks like the CWAC is anybody’s match on any given night.”
Ephrata travels to Yakima on Thursday to face East Valley. Othello is at Selah on Thursday.