Hoquiam’s Megan Gibson said it was “pretty weird.” She was still happier than her mother with the outcome of an exciting Grizzly-Montesano volleyball showdown.
Riding Gibson’s setting and Chelsy Stewart’s hitting in the fifth set, the Grizzlies outlasted the previously unbeaten Bulldogs, 25-15, 25-11, 20-25, 19-25, 15-9, in an Evergreen 1A League volleyball contest Tuesday night at Hoquiam Square Garden.
Both Hoquiam and Montesano are now 5-1 in league and 7-1 overall.
If a volleyball match could be described as poignant, this one fit the description. It was the first time that Gibson, Hoquiam’s freshman setter, faced a team coached by her mother, veteran Bulldog mentor Debbie Gibson.
It was a match-up that neither family member wanted.
“I dreaded it. I dreaded it from the get-go,” Debbie Gibson said. “It’s tough when you’ve got a kid on the other side. You want her to do well. But at the same time, your job is to put a team out there to win.”
“I didn’t want to play her,” her daughter agreed.
Megan didn’t let those emotions affect her performance, however. She dished out 39 assists to set up Grizzly power hitters Stewart, Tiffani Dhooghe, Mikaila Johnson and Angela Walker and even served the final two points of the match.
The Grizzlies used their power-hitting attack to dominate the first two sets against a Bulldog club that was tentative and out of rhythm at the beginning.
Montesano’s struggles were reflected on the opening point of the third set, in which a Grizzly serve that was sailing long hit a Bulldog player attempting to get out of the way for an ace.
Down 5-2 in the third, however, the Bulldogs began digging up HHS spikes and converting spikes at the end of long rallies. Megan Choate’s kill clinched the third set and Kendra Warnock served an ace on set point in the fourth.
The Grizzlies then re-establish control of the net in the fifth set.
“They played great in the third and fourth games, but I felt we played a little timid,” Hoquiam coach Christine Nelson, herself a Montesano alum. “We came out with some fire in the fifth game.”
Stewart slammed down three kills to give the Grizzlies a 4-1 lead, but the Bulldogs tied it at 6 on an HHS hitting error.
A missed serve, only Monte’s second of the match, put the Grizzlies ahead to stay. Hoquiam’s Brandi Creviston served the next four points, the last two coming on Dhooghe kills, to make it 11-6.
The teams exchanged points over the next few rotations before a side-out gave Megan Gibson the serve at 13-9. Following a Bulldog net violation, Stewart put down a left-handed kill to end it.
“In game five, they came out hitting the ball and we came out letting them hit it,” Debbie Gibson grumbled. “We were not aggressive, we were on the defensive.”
Dhooghe and Stewart finished with 18 kills. Creviston, Hoquiam’s junior libero, was credited with more than two dozen digs.
Myranda Floch, probably Montesano’s most consistent performer throughout, contributed 11 kills. Warnock served four aces, Courtney Swan contributed 27 assists, while Choate brought up nine digs.
The Grizzlies took the JV match, 25-12, 25-22. Hoquiam’s Bailee Bradley and Emma Estes were cited for fine play.
Hoquiam will attempt to avenge its only loss Thursday when Forks invades the Garden. Montesano visits Rainier tonight in a match rescheduled from Thursday.