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COQUILLE — Marshfield’s volleyball team is getting a lot of practice coming from behind and also winning close sets.

The Pirates did both in Coquille on Tuesday, while winning matches against Creswell and Coquille as part of a double dual hosted by the Red Devils. Creswell won the third match, beating Coquille in four sets.

Marshfield topped Creswell 29-27, 25-22, 14-25, 25-18 and then came from behind in the first two sets while beating Coquille 27-25, 26-24, 25-18.

The Pirates trailed Coquille by five points late in the first set and four points late in the second before coming back to win with clutch points late, just as it had in the first set against Creswell.

“It’s character-building just to know that we can do that,” Marshfield coach Tammie Montiel said. “Not that we want to get ourselves down, but we’re getting a lot of practice (coming back) in the preseason. We’re going to be ready for it in league.”

The Pirates were coming off a weekend tournament at Cascade when they didn’t play as well as they would have liked.

“We had a tournament on Saturday that we struggled with,” Jamie Foster said. “We all got together as a team and talked about what we needed to do.

“Mostly we talked about encouraging others, focusing more and giving our all on every ball. It helped a lot.”

Still, the Pirates found themselves down most of the first two sets against Coquille before finding a way to come back.

A big help against the Red Devils was a powerful offensive display by Cedar Ward, who finished with seven kills in each set — 21 for the match. Foster added 13 kills against the Red Devils.

Ward, who was a middle blocker last year when the Pirates had a number of strong senior outside hitters, has shined since being moved to the outside this fall.

“We’re still fine-tuning Cedar to the outside,” Montiel said. “It’s only going to get better.

“As Jamie gets more confidence, it will be nice to have them be more of a package deal.”

The Pirates also had a strong defensive effort, with a number of diving digs to keep points alive.

“We were more consistent,” Montiel said. “We still need to work on cutting down our unforced errors.

“We played with a lot more heart than we did on Saturday. I think they showed sparks of life.”

Coquille led the first set 19-14 after an ace by Hailey Combie, but the Pirates rallied with six points in a row, two on kills by Ward.

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The set was tied at 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. The Red Devils had a set point at 24-23, but Foster came up with a clutch kill. Marshfield the went in front on a stuff block by Raegan Rhodes, but Coquille stayed alive until the Red Devils couldn’t handle a serve by Karina Skurk at 26-25.

In the second set, the Red Devils led 18-14 before Marshfield again rallied, again behind the powerful arm of Ward.

And similar to the first set, the set was tied at 19, 20, 22, 23 and 24 before the Pirates prevailed on kills by Rhodes and Foster.

The third set wasn’t nearly as close as the Pirates jumped to an early lead and Coquille couldn’t recover.

Foster had 13 kills for the Pirates. Rhodes had five kills. Makenna Anderson had 16 digs and a pair of aces and Skurk and Carmen Samuels also each had two aces. Taylor Londo had 26 assists. 

Coquille coach Suzanne Grami was generally pleased with her team’s play.

“I thought they put a good effort in,” she said. “It was a fun match. It would have been nice to win a set.”

Ellie Ekelund and Saige Gallino had five kills each against the Pirates and Combie had three stuff blocks. Setter Drew Wilson had 13 kills and five aces despite battling an illness and Spencer Gallino had eight digs.

The killer for the Red Devils, though, was 12 service errors, often at crucial times.

“We’ve got to get our serves in,” Grami said.

The Red Devils had a service error at 25-all in the first set and at 20-all and 23-all in the second. The match ended on another Coquille serve in the net.

But Grami was happy with how her team stuck together and how the Red Devils have come through a brutal preseason that included matches against seasoned teams. Coquille’s four losses have come against Marshfield (No. 10 in the Class 4A power rankings), Creswell (No. 3 in Class 3A), South Umpqua (No. 8 in Class 3A) and Central Linn (No. 9 in Class 2A). The Red Devils also won the Les Schwab tournament at Reedsport on Saturday.

“They’ve stayed up in brutal matches,” Grami said.

In the first match Tuesday, Coquille fell to Creswell 25-10, 16-25, 25-15, 25-20.

Wilson had 26 assists and two stuff blocks in that match. Ekelund had 14 kills and nine digs, Saige Gallino had eight kills and 16 digs, Combie had seven kills and three aces, Mariah Jarrett had 19 digs and Spencer Gallino had 10 digs.

In Marshfield's win over Creswell, Ward had 19 kills, three aces and 12 digs; Foster had 13 kills; Anderson had 26 digs; and Londo had 31 assists and 13 digs. 

Coquille plays its first Sunset Conference match Thursday at Reedsport, while Marshfield has its third double dual of the season Saturday when it hosts a pair of top-five teams, Banks and Hidden Valley. Marshfield plays Banks at 11 a.m., followed by Banks against Hidden Valley and finally the Pirates against the Mustangs.

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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