Women's volleyball nears playoffs
By Bryce Fecarotta - Staff Reporter
With three games left in the season, the Highline Women's volleyball team is in good shape to clinch a spot in post-season play.
A Thunderbird victory paired with a Grays Harbor or a Centralia loss will the T-Birds in post-season play. But none of Highline's three games are going to come easy.
The two teams ahead of Highline (8-3) are Lower Columbia (9-2) and Pierce (9-2), each only a win away from clinching.
The Grays Harbor Chokers (6-5) and the Centralia Trailblazers (6-5) are fighting it out for the coveted fourth division spot.
Fourth place would be enough to send either team to playoffs, but there is still potential for either to finish above and beyond that mark.
A loss by the Chokers or the Trailblazers would cause the three teams ahead of them to clinch.
Highline could only miss playoffs if it loses two of its final three and the Chokers and the Trailblazers win out. Centralia's and Grays Harbor's last three games are all against opponents that they have beaten earlier in the season.
The Thunderbirds game against Lower Columbia, results of which were unavailable at press release time, will be a deciding factor for who takes the second spot in the division. If Highline can win, then it will have swept the Red Devils this season.
After that, the T-Birds have a shot at revenge against Grays Harbor, which edged them out in a nail-biter a month before. A win here would guarantee the Thunderbirds a spot in the top four and the playoff tournament.
If Highline wins both games preceding to its match against Pierce, then the game would be a battle for the conference championship.
The Thunderbirds did a great job giving themselves some cushion over Centralia already, when they beat the Trailblazers for the third time this season.
Three days after beating them in four sets in the North Bend tournament, the T-Birds beat the Trailblazers in four sets yet again, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 26-24.
Sophomore right side hitter Zoe Gaines dominated the offensive front, smashing down 22 kills, pushing Highline to a solid victory. They are 9-1 in their last 10 matches.
"We have the potential to beat anyone," said Head Coach Chris Littleman.
The Thunderbirds have the opportunity to prove Littleman right this upcoming week, facing three of the best teams in the conference in order to have a chance to fight for the NWAC title.