Mt. Rainier volleyball wins at TJ
By Gerardo Bolong
AUBURN - It was all hands on board on Mon., Sept. 17, as the visiting Mount Rainier Ram volleyball team captured a 3-0 NPSL 4A non league crossover win at the Olympic division Raider gymnasium.
The visitors ran their won-loss record to 1-2 while Thomas Jefferson dropped to 1-4.
“I liked the transition from digging to hitting from the back row,” said MR head coach Pat Taitano. “This team is better than last year in defense, passing, and serving. Last season, we started out 6-0, but the teams we played weren’t strong. This season, we scheduled tougher non league matches for preparation.”
Mt. Rainier lost a 3-0 match up against Rogers of Puyallup before a 2-2 match against Enumclaw. Playing toughly, the Des Moines netters fell in five sets against Sumner before facing Jefferson.
MR controlled the first set from the opening serve with front line hitting and good passing against the young and undersized TJ squad whose tallest players were only 5-foot, 8-inches tall.
Defensive digs were also at a premium while 5-11 Anna Hardy and 6-0 Alyssa DeBiase with augmentation from their teammates fired away to stake Mt. Rainier to a 15-3 lead en route to a dominating 25-7 triumph.
Other than a few serving errors, the Rams were in full control.
Having already demonstrated superiority in the starting rotation, the Rams gave every player court time while starters rested and blended in with reserves at times.
The result was a very competitive second set that featured 14 ties before Mt. Rainier
led 23-22. The Rams closed out the set on two consecutive points behind the serve of DeBiase.
Third set action also showed MR starters and reserves sharing court time.
Deadlocked at 4-all, Mt. Rainier incorporated scoring bursts of 3-4 points to gradually pull away to a 25-14 set and match victory.
Co-captains DeBiase and Hardy feel they have a team that has finally come together.
“We have nine seniors and became a team this year, “ said DeBiase. “We’re closer as players.”
Hardy, who earned 15 kills and five aces in abbreviated court time, was enthusiastic as well.
“The team has grown significantly tougher each year,” she observed. “The defense is so much better. We can just keep growing and get blocked up on fundamentals. A former coach told me that simple was better.”
According to coach Taitano, Marissa Banuelos was significant in kills (5), digging and passing.
“Tahoma looks to be the cream of the crop in league and maybe the state,” concluded Taitano. “Kennedy will be tough and if Haley Kent is healthy, Kentwood will also be tough.”