BICKLETON - After dropping the first two games to the Sunnyside Christian High School girls volleyball team last Friday night, it would have been easy for the Bickleton Lady Pirates to have walked the plank.
Instead, Bickleton stormed back and won the next three sets to avenge a 3-1 loss to those same Lady Knights that occurred back on Oct. 6.
Sunnyside Christian opened Friday's 1B league match with a tightly contested 25-21 victory. It appeared as though the Lady Pirates, playing on their home court, were going to square the match at one-all when they forged a 20-9 lead in game two.
Instead, the Lady Knights scrapped their way back into it and pulled out a 27-25 win to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
"The second game we gave credit to God for the ability to come back from a 9-20 score and win it 27-25," said Stephanie Greydanus, Sunnyside Christian's first-year coach.
Greydanus said the duo of Janelle DeGroot and Kelly Newhouse powered the Lady Knights to the early 2-0 advantage. The two combined for 23 kills in the five-game match, a team-high 12 by DeGroot, who also was credited with 17 perfect passes and turned in a 15-for-15 effort from the service line. Newhouse, along with her 11 kills, dug up 16 balls from the back row, tallied 25 perfect passes and went 15-for-17 in serving the ball.
Bickleton Coach Kim Clinton said her team was playing well in game two, but that Sunnyside Christian made a run at the Lady Pirates.
"My girls got tight and then didn't play as well as they had been," she said.
In a 2-0 hole, Bickleton held firm, however, rallying for a pair of 25-21 and 25-20 wins to force a shortened, race-to-15 rubber game. With the momentum on their side, the Lady Pirates streaked to a match-clinching 15-9 victory.
"In the third game," said Clinton, "my girls settled in and just started playing their game. Our hustle and communication were excellent," she added.
Greydanus said the last three games went Bickleton's way because of mental mistakes. "Our mental errors are keeping us from staying in control of a match at this time.
"It was a great match," Greydanus added, "But Bickleton just out-played us in the five games."
Clinton said bottom line, it was some great volleyball played by both teams. "The highlight for me was the fact that my girls had the mental toughness to come back from two down to win it.
"I was also pleased that they kept playing aggressively and didn't just sit back and play a safe game," shared Clinton.
Individually for Bickleton, Katelynn Clinton led her team at the net with 10 kills and six blocks. Teammate Haley Goodnight, only a freshman, went 28-for-28 from the service line, and eighth grader Kayli Berk subbed in and recorded four ace serves for the Lady Pirates. Also for Bickleton, Morgan McBride was credited with 15 perfect sets, and Dede Kibby spotted up 10 perfect passes.
In addition to the strong individual stats posted by DeGroot and Newhouse, Sunnyside Christian got a 25-for-27 effort from the service line by Ashley Haak, Maddy Wavrin had six kills and three blocks at the net, and Alyssa Haak totaled a team-high 14 assists and tallied 10 perfect passes.
The Lady Knights will play their final home match of the season tonight (Monday) against the Zillah JV, then will travel to Klickitat on Thursday.
Bickleton closes out the regular season at Glenwood this coming Thursday.