The Kennewick volleyball team hasn’t had much success in recent years, but even after a two-match win streak, coach Brandy Sonderland isn’t quite ready to do a happy dance.
The Lions beat Pasco 25-10, 25-17, 25-15 on Thursday night at the Lions Den to improve to 2-2 in the Mid-Columbia Conference. The win comes just two days after beating rival Kamiakin in five sets.
“It has been a while,” Sonderland said of her team’s recent success. “We have some good senior leadership and they are hungry for wins.”
Senior outside hitter Breanna Shaffer led the Lions with 11 kills and 13 digs. She also served for the win in the first set as Kidera Miller laid down a kill.
“I’m super excited,” Shaffer said of the win. “It feels so good. I love all of my girls. It’s fun to finally get some dubs (wins).”
Shaffer said having Sonderland come in this season, after Kelly Munson left after one year, has been the icing on the cake.
“Kelly got us on a good page, and Brandy has kept that going,” Shaffer said.
Pasco (0-4) has had its share of close matches this season, and had early leads in the second and third sets Thursday, but couldn’t hold on. The Bulldogs’ 36 unforced errors did not help matters.
“We are working on that,” Pasco coach Jackie Fluiatt said. “We are just on the edge. We are a scrappy team. They just have to keep pressing forward and getting better.”
Kennewick got off to a strong start in the first set, taking a 6-0 lead behind the serving of Madeline Gebers. The Lions jumped out to a 12-3 lead, and later got a string of six points from Tierra Townsend to make it 19-6.
The Bulldogs came out baring teeth in the second, taking a quick 6-1 lead. The Lions rallied back, and after ties at 9-9, 10-10 and 12-12, Kennewick took the lead for good at 13-12 with Monica Kaylor at the service line. Shaffer added a string of five points for a 22-16 lead. Abbie Johnson-Cuello served for the win as Pasco’s Hannah Jolley sent the ball out of play.
Pasco got off to another good start in the third, but again couldn’t sustain the lead. After a 12-12 tie, the Lions pulled away, taking advantage of eight unforced errors by the Bulldogs.
The Lions will try to extend their win streak to three matches Tuesday at Hanford. Pasco will host Chiawana.
Set scores: Kennewick 25-10, 25-17, 25-15. Pasco: Natalie Hall 5K; Angelica Guzman 17 digs; Zulma Ceja 14 digs; Bella Gutierrez 11 assts. Kennewick: Breanna Shaffer 11K, 13 digs; Shyann Pratt 7K, 1B; Monica Kaylor 15 digs 3K; Madeline Gebers 25 assts, 3 aces, 7 digs; Abbie Johnson-Cuello 8 digs; Kidera Miller 8 digs; April Buckingham 4 digs.