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Lady Knights still alive at State

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Sunnyside Christian's Andrea Schutt (L) and Emma Newhouse attempt to block the shot of a Tekoa-Oakdale middle hitter in yesterday's opening round match at the 1B State tourney, being staged in the Yakima Sun Dome.

YAKIMA - Washington's top ranked 1B Tekoa-Oakesdale Nighthawks dispatched the Sunnyside Christian girls volleyball team in the opening round of the State tournament yesterday, but the Lady Knights kept their trophy hopes alive by defeating the Crescent Loggers.

Last night's three games to two victory over the Loggers propelled Sunnyside Christian into a loser-out match at 10:30 a.m. this morning (Friday) against the North Sound Christian Lions. The winner of that match will play tonight in the Yakima SunDome at 6:30 p.m. for the 1B State tourney fifth and eighth place trophies.

In facing the Crescent Loggers early Thursday evening in what could have been an end to the Lady Knights' season, the Sunnyside Christian girls rallied from a 2-1 deficit. The Lady Knights eked out a match-squaring 25-21 win in game four, then took the rubber game 15-11.

"We had to work hard to get through this match," Sunnyside Christian Coach Tammy Bangs said.

Bangs' club won the opener against Crescent, 25-11, but the Loggers preyed on several mistakes committed by the Lady Knights to take games two and three by 25-18 and 25-21 scores.

"We were dealing with a lot of mental errors that put a bump in the road," said Bangs.

But, she quickly added, "The girls did a good job of helping each other and trying to keep the momentum up.

"The last two games showed a lot of teamwork and fight to get the victory," Bangs said.

One of the biggest fighters for Sunnyside Christian in the Crescent match was senior Andrea Schutt. She was a monster at the net, recording a team best 14 kills. Schutt also had four key blocks in the five-game match, and was credited with 27 perfect passes. From the service line, Schutt successfully put 16-of-19 serves into play.

The only other senior on the team, Emma Newhouse, also stood out against the Loggers. Newhouse scorched Crescent with her 10-of-11 serving stats, which included notching a team high three ace serves. She also powered seven slams at the net that went for kills, and tallied 12 perfect passes in the match.

SCHS junior Melanie Van Wingerden also made her presence felt at the net, piling up four kills against the Loggers and recording a team high five blocks. Van Wingerden, too, totaled two aces while going 14-for-16 from the service line.

Also contributing mightily in the victory over Crescent were junior Abby Bangs, 22-for-24 from the service line with 21 assists; sophomore Joleen Van Wingerden, 18 perfect passes with 13-of-16 serving stats while piling up three kills and one block; and sophomore Hilari Bosma, who was 13-for-16 from the service line with four kills at the net.

In the State tourney opener Thursday afternoon, it appeared as though the Lady Knights were going to give the No. 1 ranked Nighthawks all they could handle.

"We played well in the first game," said Bangs.

A few adjustments on the part of Tekoa-Oakesdale, however, quickly shifted the momentum, and the Nighthawks rallied for a 25-14 victory in the first contest. The Nighthawks went on to match-clinching 25-14, 25-11 wins.

Bangs said her Lady Knights lost some confidence when Tekoa-Oakesdale rallied late in the first game.

"They are a tough team," she said of the Nighthawks. "Our girls fought hard, but Tekoa is a stronger team."

Sunnyside Christian's biggest problem against the Nighthawks was serving the ball, although Bosma, the younger Van Wingerden sister and the junior Bangs combined for 23-of-24 numbers from the service line.

"Our serving has been really off. We need to pick that up," said the SCHS coach.

The older of the Van Wingerden sisters put up the best numbers at the net for Sunnyside Christian against Tekoa-Oakesdale. She had a team high five blocks and added three kills. Schutt and Newhouse combined for eight kills in the match, and Newhouse recorded a team best 15 perfect passes. Newhouse and Bangs also were each credited with two defensive digs against the Nighthawks.

Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

Sunnyside Christian's Andrea Schutt (L) and Emma Newhouse attempt to block the shot of a Tekoa-Oaksdale middle hitter in yesterday's opening round match at the 1B State tourney, being staged in the Yakima SunDome.

Rod Smith/Daily Sun News

SCHS junior Melanie Van Wingerden sets the ball for a teammate in yesterday's match against the Tekoa-Oaksdale Nighthawks.

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