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Tomahawks 3-0 in conference
The Tomahawks were dominant for two games of a 3-1 victory over the Spartans, but all the drama came from the other two.
Not to be outdone by Marysville-Pilchuck's 7-0 run to win game two 25-23, Stanwood scored eight unanswered points with its back to the wall to earn the 26-24 win and prolong the Oct. 8 match.
"I played with the lineup to get some of the younger kids some experience, but it's no excuse," said M-P coach Shelly Johnson. "We have to do better at being more consistent and learn to put away games."
Tomahawks rolled to an opening 25-14 win that stemmed from a 6-0 rally behind the pinpoint serving of Makiya Nelson.
"She's kind of our rock," Johnson said of the junior. "When she does well, we do well."
The same front line that shut down the Spartans and seemed to score at will, however, disappeared and put the Tomahawks in need of another rally. And with M-P trailing 23-19, Nelson served six consecutive times to earn a victory that didn't come easy. At game point, the sides changed possessions nearly 10 times and junior libero Katie Peterson made a diving one-handed dig over her head to save the point.
"In an intense game like this, Katie is all over the place," Johnson said of her defensive specialist that frustrated Stanwood hitters, recording 38 digs.
In all, Nelson was 32 of 33 serves and had a handful of aces to go along with her eight kills.
"I love her serving," Johnson said of the junior. "It's a mix of placement and floating because of all the movement she gets."
After an emotional victory in game two, the Tomahawks were in for a letdown after jumping out to an 18-10 lead and seeing that disappear with frontline mistakes, culminating in an 8-0 Stanwood run to steal the game, 26-24.
Almost to make a statement, the Tomahawks were all business in game four, firing on all cylinders to manhandle the Spartans 25-10 and become the second Wesco team to reach 3-0 (6-3 overall).
Not a surprise, but an unlikely start to the conference season coming from a team that came into its first Wesco match with a 4-3 record, but is now on a four-match win streak.
"We're where we thought we'd be (in the conference standings)," Johnson said. "We were kind of scrambling to come back and perform after the start to the season.
Along with a rejuvenation by Nelson, Johnson also credits hitters Alisha Oden (11 kills) and Mikayla Larosa (14 kills) with her team's turnaround.
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