Two titans of the animal world met on the Joseph Charter School court to determine volleyball superiority. It took five tooth-and-nail sets between the Joseph Eagles and Wallowa Cougars before the Cougars ended the fray as victors.
The first set went to the Cougs, 25-14 while the Eagles triumphed in the next set, 25-22. Wallowa returned the favor, winning the third set by the same score. The fourth set saw the Eagles roaring back with a convincing 25-16 victory.
Who knows what Coach Hulse said to the Cougars after the loss in the fourth set. They came into the match-clinching fifth set with bared teeth, easily defeating the Eagles, 15-8, for the win.
“This game was full of emotions and ups and downs,” coach Janea Hulse said. “Joseph played a very smart and controlled game. They never let down and they worked us very hard.”
Hulse’s praise of the Eagles was only surpassed by her acknowledgement that the Cougars’ victory came down to the grit and determination of each team member.
“These girls never gave up,” she said. “We kept battling and eventually it all came together in the 5th game.”
The coach said the ladies’ classic clutch performance in the fifth set showed the Cougars are a force to reckon with.
“That is the kind of play I want all the time,” Hulse said. “I know what they are capable of. This is a huge win for us and hopefully it will give these girls the confidence they need.”
The unstoppable Shanna Rae Tillery notched up 17 kills along with great defense and serve receive. Hulse also called her the top consistent server.
Team captain, Ashlyn Young also put in a masterful performance with 28 assists to her credit although she was ill.
“She’s our leader,” Hulse said. “She’s sick but she pushed herself on defense and worked hard to keep her team up. She served tough.”
Jamie Johnston got coach kudos for her stellar defense on the night. Hulse said that Johnston pushes herself and is quick to get any ball whether on defense or offense and became a powerhouse at the net.
Hulse also lauded Haley Brockamp for her work on blocking and Lyvie Thorne for working on staying aggressive.