The situation couldn’t have been much more bleak for the Capital High School volleyball team on the road Thursday night. Down 2-1 in the match and 8-6 in the fourth set, the Cougars had run into a seemingly impenetrable wall of Timberline blockers.
Kasey Louis and Juliana Salanoa had closed out the third set with four consecutive blocks and Hanna Johnson had just scored on a block to give the Blazers their two-point lead. .
Capital went on an 8-0 run to take control of the fourth set, then won the decider 15-6 to win the match 3-2 and move into sole possession of second place in the 3A South Sound Conference with a 6-1 league and overall record. The set scores were 25-19, 11-25, 15-25, 25-21, 15-6.
“Timberline was blocking really well,” said first-year Cougars coach Katie Turcotte. “We needed to adjust, stop swinging as hard as we could. Our girls started making smarter choices, going deeper down the lines, taking harder angles, going around the blocks,”
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Freshman Maia Nichols led the Cougars with 15 kills while Haley Ehresmann added 14. Setter Tia Grow went 18 for 18 from the service line and had a season-high 43 assists.
Nichols came up big several times during the Cougars comeback,
“She’s a smart player,” said Turcotte. “She’s played a lot of volleyball, so she’s very instinctual.”
The first set featured seven lead changes and six ties before it rapidly turned in Capital’s favor. With the Blazers up 19-16 thanks to back-to-back aces by Salanoa, Devyn Collins began serving for the Cougars. Capital scored nine straight points on two aces by Collins and kills by four different players.
Timberline’s two biggest hitters put their imprint on the match-tying second set. Salanoa scored five of the first six Blazers points and scored five straight points near the end. With the set still relatively close at 6-3, Louis sparked the Blazers to a 5-1 run, scoring three times with deft taps to open areas and once on a solo block.
She added an exclamation point by scoring off the block to end the set.
The third set was tied at 8-8 when Timberline (5-2 in the SSC and overall) went on a 10-1 run highlighted by five scoring plays from Salanoa,
In the fourth, Nichols sparked the comeback by leading an 8-0 run that gave the Cougars a 14-8 lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish.
The fifth set was all Cougars as they went up 7-1 and coasted home. Grow finished off the match in fitting fashion, scoring off one of those Blazers blocks that had been so troublesome earlier.
Capital 3, Timberline 2
Set scores: 25-19, 11-25, 15-25, 25-21, 15-6