Just about anything can happen in Great Northern League volleyball this season, but one thing in particular has benefitted the East Valley Knights.
Sophomore Jordan Phelan and senior Elisha Allred combined for 35 kills Thursday as EV rallied past Colville 23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18 in a crucial late-season match.
The Knights, by winning both league matches against Colville this season, are in position to win their first league volleyball title since 1998, when they played in the Frontier League.
EV and Colville are both 7-3 with two league matches left. Cheney and Pullman, with wins on Thursday, improved to 6-3 with three league matches left.
Colville and EV both split with Cheney. EV also split with Pullman, which is 0-1 against Colville but gets another shot at the Indians on Tuesday. EV also owns a loss against sixth-place Deer Park.
“The GNL really does have four teams that are all consistently playing good ball,” third-year Knights coach Darin Wold said. “We’re all at about the same level.”
EV starts three seniors, but new blood has put the Knights in solid position for the title.
“It’s incredible because we lost a lot of our seniors last year,” Allred said. “The fact that the youngsters have stepped up to the plate like that is pretty incredible.”
Allred and Colville senior Aubrey Buckner dominated at the net during the first game, which featured eight ties. Indians senior captain Sadie Learn had a kill to break a 23-all tie and followed with a winning block.
“I think after they beat us (in the first game) we just wanted it more, because we knew we had to beat them to tie for first,” Phelan said.
“We eliminated our own errors (after the first game) and that was the big thing,” Wold said. “We started making our serves, being more accurate, and being more aggressive at the net. Hitting, blocking, all the way around, when we play aggressive, we play well.”
EV never trailed the second game after senior Bailey Juris and junior Shalyn Stack teamed for a block and 2-1 lead. Colville served for a tie at 19-18 but was called for a net violation. Phelan had kills for points 21, 23 and 25.
The Indians roared back from a 20-12 third-game deficit with a 6-0 run capped by junior Abby Lembcke’s back-to-back aces. Allred had kills for points 22, 23 and 25.
The Knights broke from an 11-all tie in the final game with an 8-0 run highlighted by three Phelan kills. Colville fought back with a 6-0 run, but Juris had a block for a 22-17 lead and ended the night with a kill.
“We were letting a lot of stuff go, so we just had to pick up our feet and start playing like we wanted to win and not like we wanted to not lose,” Allred said.
Also in the league, Ashley Feiler had 22 kills and Kinsey Pease added 32 assists to lead Cheney to a sweep at West Valley. Katelyn Sage had 15 digs and Erin Higbie added seven kills and two blocks for the Eagles (0-10). … Tori Berdichevskaya had 11 kills and Jolene Herzog added 29 assists as host Pullman swept Deer Park. Zoey Mohr had 15 assists, two blocks and an ace for the Stags (2-7).