MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake’s volleyball match against Eastmont had all the makings of a classic.
Both teams entered Tuesday night with identical 4-1 records in the Columbia Basin Big Nine with sole possession of second place up for grabs. Eastmont handled the extra pressure enough to escape with a four-set win 25-20, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22.
“I thought we would play a little bit harder, a little bit better,” head coach Jennifer Gering said. “Decision-making tonight wasn’t all that grand. We could have made some smarter choices.”
The first set lived up to the billing as neither team could gain much of an advantage, which led to 13 ties. However, Eastmont won five out of the last six points to pull away.
The Chiefs continued to trade blows in the second set, building an 8-2 lead behind the service of Gabi Rios; she had one ace in the 7-0 spurt. The second-set lead appeared safe when the scoreboard read 21-13 in favor of the Chiefs.
But, like the rest of the evening, the Wildcats refused to relent.
Eastmont drew as close as two points, 23-21, before Moses Lake finished the set.
Eastmont took control of the match in the third and deciding fourth set with large leads at the start. The Wildcats raced to a 12-2 lead in the third set, causing the Chiefs to call two early timeouts.
After an ace by Ashlyn Haneberg, Moses Lake trailed by two points before Eastmont rattled off five of the last six points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
“They get nervous that any mistake they get is going to give another point so then they play timid and they don’t play as aggressive as they should to be able to win a match,” Gering said.
Eastmont enjoyed another early cushion in the fourth set, pulling ahead 9-2.
Moses Lake strung together mini runs to shave the lead and did get as close as one point, 12-11.
The Eastmont hitters would not allow a fifth set. Janae Wiggs totaled 11 kills and Britt Vaughn finished with a match-high 20.
“She’s (Vaughn) one of the top middle, outside — she hits middle and outside — and she’s one of the top,” Gering said.
EM 25 21 25 25
ML 20 25 19 22