Going up against a short-handed and injury-plagued Chehalis team that's lost three straight matches, the Wolves took advantage of the Bearcats' on-court mistakes on their way to a 3-0 win at Black Hills High School on Tuesday night.
Black Hills senior Christine Hilt had a match-high eight kills to help the Wolves win 25-12, 25-14, 25-21.
With the win, Black Hills (12-4 overall, 8-1 Evergreen Conference) remains one game behind Tumwater for first place. Chehalis dropped to 2-7 in EvCo play.
It also was sweet revenge the second time around for Black Hills against Chehalis. In the teams' first matchup Sept. 13, Chehalis took Black Hills to four games before the Wolves pulled out the win.
"We redeemed ourselves," Hilt said. "It was frustrating for ourselves to lose a game to them last time. It was just our stupid mistakes. This time, we really went after it against them."
It was Chehalis' mistakes Tuesday that cost them any shot making the match competitive. The Bearcats had a negative hitting percentage throughout all three games, and weren't able to get strong rallies going all match. On the flip side, strong hitting and serving by the Wolves led to frustration for the Bearcats.
"We completely took them out of their passing game," Peterson said. "We were able to put the ball where it needed to go, as far as being successful in taking passers out of their rhythm."
The Wolves started off Game 1 with 11 straight serves by Hillary Lutz and a kill by Hilt saw their lead increase to the largest of the game, at 16-1. Chehalis' first two points came on serving errors by Black Hills. The Bearcats registered only two kills in Game 1, both by 6-foot middle hitter Norma Hackney.
Game 2 was much of the same, as the Wolves got more hitters involved. Kailah Lenz and Jessica Levine had four straight kills to help Black Hills go on a 4-0 run at 17-11.
The match had just two big rallies, with one of them coming in Game 2. Hilt made it 21-13 after a back row kill that was sparked by her dig on Bearcats outside hitter Justine White.
The Wolves finished the game outscoring the Bearcats 9-3, with two of the Bearcats' final three points coming on a service error and an attacking error by Black Hills.
"We were trying to clean up our game a bit in the first two games, which we did," Peterson said. "We used different lineups in two different games and they handled it well."
Peterson brought in setter Elena Carter and used different combinations in Game 3, a game in which a team's lead was no more than four. Black Hills and Chehalis went back and forth early on, but a kill by Hilt and libero Maylee Berschauer increased the Wolves' lead to two at 14-12.
For the next two series, Chehalis had a hitting error and the player in the net, which cost the Bearcats two points. At 23-21, Lenz' kill off Hackney's attempted block and setter Taylor Aschenbrenner's big play ended the game and match.
"We're a growing team and we're trying to figure out what works and to finalize things," Hilt said of the different combinations.
Said Peterson: "It's one more step forward. They're making the right strides forward."