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Bickleton faces must-win match for playoff spot

Tonight's home match against the visiting Klickitat Vandals is a must-win affair for the Bickleton High School volleyball team, in terms of having a shot to qualify for this year's playoffs.

Klickitat swept the Lady Pirates in three straight games in the two teams' late September match-up.

In Bickleton's most recent outings, the Lady Pirates were swept by the Lyle Cougars last Thursday (25-7, 25-21, 25-20) and by the West Valley High School freshman team on Friday (25-17, 25-13, 25-12).

Against Lyle at home last Thursday, Bickleton jumped out to a quick lead in the first game, only to run into passing problems as the Cougars rallied for a 25-7 victory. The Lady Pirates performed much better in the next two games before finally succumbing by 25-21 and 25-20 scores.

"I was pleased with how we played the last two games," said Bickleton Coach Tom Whitmore.

"But it turned out we were still battling our serve-receive problems," he said.

Against West Valley's frosh on Friday, Bickleton's varsity had to take on a game Rams team without one of its top hitters-senior Kirstin Slater, out due to illness.

"It's a huge hole when she's gone," said Whitmore.

Still, Whitmore was pleased with how the rest of his players stepped up to the challenge. "They did a super job considering Kirstin wasn't there," he said.

Whitmore praised the strong net play of sophomore Ilsa Chapple in the West Valley match.

"She had some awesome blocks," he said.

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