Wilson Creek holds off late MLCA charge

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  • Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Moses Lake Christian's Aspen Merkle enjoys a moment after the Lions scored during Thursday night's match with Wilson Creek.

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    Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin HeraldMoses Lake Christian's Maddie Schwab (12) goes up for a block during Thursday night's match with Wilson Creek.

  • Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Moses Lake Christian's Aspen Merkle enjoys a moment after the Lions scored during Thursday night's match with Wilson Creek.

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    Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin HeraldMoses Lake Christian's Maddie Schwab (12) goes up for a block during Thursday night's match with Wilson Creek.

MOSES LAKE — Sometimes a strong service can set up a momentum establishing run and that’s exactly what Wilson Creek sophomore Gracie Bise, opening Thursday night’s Central Washington 1B match with Moses Lake Christian.

The 5-foot-2 defensive specialist pounded out six consecutive points on her opening service and the Devils (2-0) exploded to a 6-0 led in the first set to set the tone early in their 3-0 victory, 25-6, 25-5, 25-22 at Day Star Academy.

That early service helped Wilson Creek establish control from the opening whistle. The opening set ended with a Bise service ace.

“I try not to rush it. Service is about taking your time and making sure you’re set up,” she said. “I generally try to isolate one girl and pick on her if she’s having trouble with the pass.”

Wilson Creek blew out of the box again in the second set, establishing a 21-1 lead. The tallest player on the Devils is 5-8 junior Valeriia Radchenko, so they have to pick their spots and work for location shots.

“My girls are trained to play hard out of the gate,” Wilson Creek coach Jennie True said. “Right now we’re playing very sound, very consistent volleyball.

“Tonight we pushed Gracie and told her at the beginning of the game she needs to put some meat behind her serve. Sometimes she likes to play it safe, but we challenged her and she responded with a big night.”

The Moses Lake Christian Lions (0-2) played a little on the tentative side, before deciding they could hit with Wilson Creek. They stepped up in the third set with some moxie of their own. Aspen Merkle helped shore up the serve-receive and the Lions jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the third and extended it to 21-17, looking to close out the third set and force a fourth.

But Bise found her rhythm at the service line again, helping the Devils erase a 21-19 deficit with four straight points and regain the lead 23-21. Wilson Creek closed strong, but it didn’t come without a challenge in the final match of the night.

“We were a little rusty in the first game, so it took us a little longer to get into it. But once we started getting into it, we definitely tried to make the move as a team,” Merkle said. “We didn’t pass the ball well early and getting that serve back was definitely a struggle.

“We have some girls that get down easily, so us older girls have to keep them upbeat so they stay up. We’re pretty much like a family and we’re trying to get that team bonding so we can step up, play together and win.”

The Lions are back on the court Tuesday at Easton. Wilson Creek hosts Riverside Christian on Tuesday.

Other Basin scores

Connell d. Royal 25-16, 25-14, 25-13

Lind-Ritzville/Sprague d. Tekoa-Rosalia 25-20, 25-15, 25-13

Ephrata 3, Selah 0

Othello 3, Wapato 0

Liberty Bell 3, Soap Lake 0

Kiona-Benton 3, Wahluke 0

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