MOSES LAKE — Gabi Rios sprinted toward the visiting bleachers, her back to the net, and flung both her arms over her head for a desperation return that landed just inbounds.
Rios’ final kill was match-point and it was an earned one as Moses Lake’s back line defended two spikes by Eisenhower outside hitter Ashton Haughton to keep the rally going. That determination underscored a five-set comeback victory for the Chiefs 19-25, 20-25, 25-15, 25-18, 15-12.
“We switched offenses so we’re lucky this year,” head coach Jennifer Gering said. “We have the option and we have the personnel that we can switch between offense and we switched up our offense and it worked really well. That put us with three big blocks in the front row instead of maybe a shorter one on the right side where the setter would have been.”
The length of 5-foot-9 Rios, 5-foot-10 Yasmin Shateri, 5-foot-10 Renee Ohs and 6-foot-1 Meagan Karstetter provided a potent attack to counterbalance the relentlessness of Eisenhower’s Haughton and 6-foot outside hitter Tamia Allen.
Haughton finished with a match-high 14 kills, however, Shateri wasn’t far behind with 13 of her own.
Lulls in the first and second sets allowed Eisenhower the early cushion. The Chiefs let a 4-0 start in the first set get away and fell into a 5-0 hole in the second set.
The third set offered a reprieve as Moses Lake continuously extended its lead, rather than allow Eisenhower a chance to rally and finish the match. An ace by Rios capped a 5-0 spurt to put the Chiefs ahead 17-11. Another 5-0 run grew the lead to 22-14.
Moses Lake built a 7-1 advantage in the fourth set before Eisenhower stormed back to take an 8-7 lead. The Chiefs regained their composure and Callie Tabert notched consecutive aces for the final two points to even the match at two sets apiece.
Those slump-breaking points allowed the Chiefs to come from two sets down to win, earning an early-season split with Columbia Basin Big Nine volleyball stalwarts West Valley and Eisenhower.
“That’s a momentum-changer,” Gering said. “If the girls would get down on themselves and let more points go, it would’ve stopped our entire momentum.”
E — 25 25 15 18 12
ML — 19 20 25 25 15