WAPATO - A win was required last night to get the Sunnyside High School girls volleyball team into the postseason playoffs. The Lady Grizzlies delivered in a big way.
Sunnyside, playing on the Wolfpack's home court, bested Wapato 25-17, 25-17, 25-19.
"Our girls knew this meant a lot," said Sunnyside Coach Angel Carrizales. "Their mental focus continued throughout the match, even when Wapato surprised us with some good defensive plays.
"I thought our girls kept their composure," Carrizales added.
Tuesday evening's victory was the second of the season over Wapato. The win boosted the Lady Grizzlies' Mid-Valley League record to 2-10, earning Sunnyside the right to face Prosser in this coming Saturday's opening round of the District playoffs.
Carrizales said she and her team knows what it's going to take to best the Mustangs on Saturday in the loser-out match.
"To beat them we have to stop their middle hitters," she said. "Especially Claire Raap. The key is stopping her."
That assignment will go to junior Talia Spini, who turned in a superb effort at shutting down Raap in the two teams' match-up last week.
"Talia matches up well against Raap," said Carrizales. "A lot will fall on her shoulders this Saturday."
Of course, the rest of the Lady Grizzlies are going to have to come ready to play if Sunnyside is to have a chance at knocking off the Mustangs.
"One thing about the postseason," said Carrizales, "is that it's anybody's game. It's a brand new season."
The top three finishing teams at the District tournament, to be hosted by the West Valley Rams this Saturday, will advance to the Regional tourney in Cheney on Saturday, Oct. 30.
If Sunnyside puts forth the type of effort it did last night at Wapato, the Lady Grizzlies may well indeed have a shot at upsetting Prosser this Saturday. Against the Wolfpack, Sunnyside received strong play at the net from Christy Linde, Jaymee Arevalo and Becca Van Pelt. Linde slammed 14 kills at the Wolves, while Arevalo and Van Pelt added seven and five kills, respectively.
Linde also played some good defense against Wapato, coming away with 17 digs. Van Pelt added two service aces on the night for the Lady Grizzlies. Also contributing Tuesday evening were Kacee Jo Bootsma with 30 assists, and Devina Martinez and Erica Mendez, who combined for 32 defensive digs.
One of the things Carrizales was proud of last night was the Lady Grizzlies' resolve after Wapato pulled to within 15-14 of her club in the third game. Carrizales called for a timeout at that point, reminding her players that the goal had been to limit the Wolves to no more than 15 points in each game. She said her players went back out on the floor and outscored Wapato by a 10-5 margin to complete the three-game sweep.