Thunderbird’s take down third place Raiders

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Justin Harmon Staff Writer

It was a tale of two nights for Pierce’s women’s volleyball team. In a match-up pitting the second place Highline Thunderbirds against the third place Pierce Raiders viewers witnessed two talented teams go head to head Wednesday night as they get ready for the upcoming playoffs.

Early on it looked as if it would be the Raiders night. Mackenzie Valdez and Brittany Rutherford were a force to be reckoned with throughout the first set. Behind Kill after Kill the raiders jumped out to a 19-13 lead and were seemingly in control of the game.

Valdez standing 5 feet six inches tall did much of her damage (13 kills overall) in the first set. Valdez along with Rutherford combined for 21 kills altogether and helped set the early tone for the Raider’s volleyball team. “I thought we served well and played good Solid Raider volleyball,” said Head Coach Doug Carlson.

The Thunderbirds would narrow the margin to 21-19 but behind two vicious spikes from Freshman Casey Williams the Raiders would put the set away 25-21.

Unfortunately, that would be the high point of the night for the Raiders. Highline would take a 6-2 lead early in the second set forcing Coach Doug Carlson to take a timeout. The Raiders clawed back to even the score at 6-6 but behind great defense and a flurry of blocks the Thunderbirds went on stifling 19-4 run to close out the second set 25-10.

Mikaela Ballou and Jessica Markham who combined for 27 kills led the Thunderbirds on an 8-0 lead to start set three. The Raiders rallied for a 17-14 point differential over the latter half of the set but couldn’t overcome the early deficit. The Thunderbirds took the third and fourth set by scores of 25-14 and 25-8 all but seizing momentum and taking the win in a dominant effort.

“We didn’t make the adjustments we needed to make. It’s as simple as that,” Said Coach Carlson. When asked if he thought the defense of the Thunderbirds led to the momentum shift he responded,” I thought they were good not great. I don’t think it was anything they did that disrupted us.” The Raiders look to rebound at the Crossover tournament Oct. 18th-19th before traveling to Centralia Oct. 23rd.