In a matchup between 2019 OSAA Class 4A volleyball state playoff squads, the Tillamook High Cheesemakers showed that they are still undoubtedly one of the strongest teams in the state following an impressive 3-0 win over the Banks Braves Mar. 16 at Banks High School.
Tillamook (1-1 Cowapa League, 2-1 overall), guided by fifth-year coach LaVonne Rawe, had a solid hitting performance with a total of 26 kills in the match. The Lady Cheesemakers won 25-10, 25-18, 25-19, which marked their first win of this short, eight-game season.
"It's been an extreme pleasure to work with our two seniors Sage Veek-Peterson and Nessa Hurliman, who just get a little better each time they play and they inspire the team to play better as well," said Rawe. "After being quarantined for 14 days and coming out and playing as strong as we did is because of the strong performance we had from Sage and Nessa. Banks is always a good competitor and they don't let the ball drop easily, so it's always tough to get the ball around them, but it's fun to come here and play. It's a very short season, but we just want to continue playing well. We've done everything to just get better every day and we've had great leadership from these two seniors."
The Cheesemakers play their next game Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at home against the Seaside Seagulls (1-3 league, 1-5 overall), followed by a Mar. 30 contest against the defending state champion Valley Catholic Valiants (5-0 league, 6-0 overall). Tillamook played on the road Thursday versus the Warrenton Warriors (5-1) of the Class 3A Coastal Range League, but results of the match were unavailable.
It was certainly a dominating Cheesemaker performance over a Braves squad that reached the 2019 quarterfinals. Tillamook trailed just once in the match, which was 1-0 in the opening moments of the first set.
Banks (0-4 Cowapa League) stayed close early, but after a 5-5 deadlock, the Mooks took control while displaying a powerful offensive attack (40 percent hitting) and very accurate serving (93.2 percent)
A 3-0 Mooks run broke the tie and put Tillamook up 8-5. A 5-1 run, capped by kill by Hurliman, extended Tillamook's advantage to 13-6, forcing a Banks timeout. Tillamook then grabbed a double digit lead at 17-7 after a kill by junior middle blocker Makayla Tuiolemotu.
"I was really happy to end it that way and Sage and I looked at each other and we just felt like it should be a senior point, so it was a nice way to finish the game," said Hurliman, who recorded a match winning kill at the conclusion of the 25-19 third set win. "It's a pleasure to be here and playing with Sage for the last four years has been very good. I've been playing volleyball since the fifth grade and I just want to have fun in what might be my final year ever, because I don't know if I'll be playing in college."
Tillamook continued it's strong hitting and serving while dominating the first set and building it's largest lead of the game at 23-9. A Banks hitting error gave Tillamook game point at 24-9 and sophomore Emily Skaar served a game-winning ace for the 25-10 victory.
In the second set, Veek-Peterson served three straight service points putting the Cheesemakers up 3-0. Tillamook extended the margin to 8-1 as freshman defensive specialist Maritza Nieves also served three consecutive service points to force a Banks timeout.
"I had lots of fun and our team came together and we really put together a near perfect effort and it showed in our overall good effort against Banks," said Veek-Peterson.
Tillamook continued to overpower Banks at the net and soon built a 14-4 double-digit lead. The Mooks increased the margin to the largest of the game when junior outside hitter Taylor Haltiner served an ace, making it 18-5.
Banks fought back, slicing the margin to 24-18 and then Tillamook notched the win after a Braves hitting error when a ball sailed out of bounds at the conclusion of the game.
Tillamook's momentum continued in the third set and Veek-Peterson was outstanding at the service line as she served seven straight points, including three aces to give the Mooks a 7-0 advantage and forcing a Banks timeout.
Tillamook's all around strong effort was simply too much for the Braves to handle and the Mooks quickly built a 15-5 double digit lead after an ace served by junior setter Chloe Rieger. The Braves then rallied while trying desparately to avoid a sweep and outscored the Mooks 12-6, trimming margin to 21-17 and forcing Rawe to call the only timeout of the match for Tillamook.
The Cheesemakers regained control and got match point at 24-19 on a Braves hitting error. Hurliman then pounded a ball to the floor for a match winning kill in the 25-19 third set victory. The Mooks had a total of 25 digs, four block kills and just 13 errors.