COOS BAY — Marshfield’s volleyball team is in position for second place in the Sky-Em League after holding off Siuslaw in a five-set thriller Tuesday night at Pirate Palace.
Marshfield’s win, coupled with Junction City’s victory over Marist Catholic, left the Pirates, Tigers and Spartans all tied for second place at 5-3.
If the Pirates can avenge their earlier loss to Marist on Thursday in Eugene, they will be in great shape since the Spartans and Junction City both still have to play league-leading Cottage Grove.
It was Marshfield’s win over the Lions on Thursday that put the Pirates in the good position, but they almost lost it at the hands of the Vikings, who rallied from two sets down before eventually falling to the Pirates 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 21-25, 16-14.
“I definitely think it wasn’t our best performance, but it definitely shows how far our mentality has come,” said Sierra Ward, one of six Marshfield seniors honored before the match. “When we lost to Junction City, we didn’t have this mentality.”
One week earlier, the Pirates were swept by Junction City, losing three close sets. On Tuesday, the Pirates pulled out the final close set.
“I was nervous,” Ward said. “I wasn’t worried. I really trust our team.
“I had the faith we would pull through.”
After Siuslaw had rallied from a 14-11 deficit to tie the final set on a kill and a stuff block by Mak York and an error by the Pirates, Marshfield got a kill by Alex Locati and then Cedar Ward, Sierra’s younger sister, scored the winning point when she blocked a Siuslaw hit at the net and then tipped the ball to an open spot in Siuslaw’s side of the court.
“I’m happy with the win,” Marshfield coach Tammie Montiel said. “We’ll always take a win, no matter how stressful or roller-coaster it is.”
For two sets, it looked like the night would be a quick one.
The Pirates finished strong in the first and second sets. When Kenadi Rhodes slammed a kill to finish the second set and Locati had back-to-back kills for a 6-2 lead in the third, it looked like the Pirates would roll to the victory.
But the Vikings rallied behind York and Elissa Hurley, who had four of her 10 kills in the third set. Marshfield led 21-20 after a kill by McKayla Myrand, but Hurley had a kill to even the score and York a stuff block to put the Vikings in front. Another Hurley kill and another York stuff block and the Vikings had reached a fourth set.
That set was tied at 20, but Alyssa Richards had a pair of kills and Mia Collins an ace. Hurley had a kill on set point to set up the final race to 15 in the fifth set.
Marshfield again got off to a great start in the final set, with a pair of aces by Locati part of a 6-1 run to open the set. Again Siuslaw rallied, with a pair of aces by Richards sparking the comeback. Ultimately, Marshfield came up with the key plays in the end to win.
“In the fifth set, we came out with more energy,” Locati said. “I wish we could have done it earlier. I guess we just needed some sense knocked into us.”
Locati, who had a team-best 16 kills, thrived most of the night by hitting with precision, had a huge smash right at a Siuslaw defender on the point before the match-winner.
“It got everybody excited,” Locati said.
That included Montiel.
“That last one — I don’t know all season if she’s had one that was that powerful.”
Myrand and Rhodes added 10 kills each for the Pirates and Mallory Heyer added seven. Ravyn Miranda had 43 assists.
Locati also had six aces and Miranda and Sierra Ward five each. Ward’s serving was huge for the Pirates, especially a pair of aces in the fifth set.
“I’ve been working really hard,” she said. “I have a little more confidence. Tammie believes in me, too.”
York had 18 kills, 16 digs, four stuff blocks and three aces for Siuslaw. Collins and Hurley both had 10 kills. Hayden Muller had 18 digs. Aylenne Vazquez and Zoe Alberty combined for 42 assists.
Before the match, Heyer, Miranda, Locati, Rhodes, Myrand and Sierra Ward were honored before their final regular-season home match.
But they have another big one Thursday at Marist.
“We need to start communicating more and keep positive attitudes,” Rhodes said.
A win over the Spartans would go a long way toward helping Marshfield get a home match in the playoffs as well.
Marshfield also is home Saturday for its annual invitational tournament.