COLUMBUS JUNCTION — The Washington and Columbus volleyball teams played four tight sets on Thursday night, and when winning time came, it was the visiting Demons who came out on top. Washington survived their close-quarters non-conference game 25-18, 25-27, 25-19, 28-26.
It was Washington’s fourth win in six games, and a nice bounce back after a tough day at the Southeast Conference tournament on Tuesday.
“There were some sets in the conference tournament that we should have had and didn’t,” said Demon head coach Lexa Mahr. “So it was nice to come and get a win tonight.”
Washington dominated the first set, winning by seven points on a game-winning tipover by Remy Messiner, and looked to be in control in the second set. The Demons led 24-19 in the second game but the Wildcats came roaring back, utilizing two huge kills from Adela Vela, a big block by Michelle Diaz and a game-winning kill from Olivia Carrier to win 27-25.
“These girls have some tenacity,” said Columbus head coach Lori Beenen. “They play with their heart and soul.”
Washington shook that game off and looked strong in the third. The Demons led by as much as nine points, at 14-5, after an Olivia Marek ace, and didn’t trail after the first six points. Washington had the exact same lead, at 24-19, in the second set, but Emma Nichols ended the game with an ace and Washington led 2-1.
Columbus led for the majority of the fourth set. Washington had to claw back to take a couple of late leads. The game was tied 23-23, 24-24, 25-25 and finally 26-26 when freshman libero Keira Messinger stepped in and served the final two points of the game.
“It was so stressful serving that last point,” K. Messinger said. “It’s pretty scary (because) I’ve been so on and off with my serves.”
Washington took the last lead of the night with a Marek kill to lead 27-26, and a Columbus kill attempt went into the net on the next point to end the game.
The Demons ended the regular season at 4-19. Columbus finished up 10-12.
The night was also Columbus’ “go-pink” night where they raised money for school nurse Barb Chaney, who has been battling breast cancer. The visiting Demons wore their pink alternates to show support.
“We appreciated them wearing pink tonight,” said Coach Beenen. “This meant a lot to us.”
Washington will start postseason play on Tuesday at Benton in the Class 4A Region 7 quarterfinal. Columbus will host Pekin one day earlier, in Monday’s Class 2A Region 8 first round.