Ellensburg volleyball defeats East Valley 3-1 after tough first set
As the East Valley volleyball team looked on while Ellensburg warmed up, the Red Devils began to murmur to each other about what they had gotten themselves into.
Junior setter and outside hitter Tia Andaya nearly destroyed one of the legs of the volleyball carrier during her first warm-up kill. Sophomore outside hitter Payton Lyyski stepped up and crushed another volleyball.
This continued into the game as Ellensburg lost the first set but then controlled the match and won 3-1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-10, 25-15).
“It’s huge they came out with a win (after the first set),” said head coach Debbie Landrie.
Serving errors were an issue for Ellensburg in the first set as it had three straight missed serves and five total over the course of the set.
“We were all just scrambled, making too many errors especially on our serves,” said sophomore libero Leah Stueckle.
Down by eight points in the first set, Ellensburg scored five-straight points to get it within 23-20 but a kill halted the run. The Bulldogs got the score down to 24-23 but a missed kill went long from senior Madi Coleman gave East Valley a 25-23 set win.
Six of the eight Bulldogs combined for nine errors in the set.
“We struggled to begin with,” Landrie said. “It wasn’t the team normally I see.”
Stueckle was one person that the Red Devils did not like seeing serve the ball. With Ellensburg leading 2-1, Stueckle stepped up and won the Bulldogs 13 straight points including six aces. An error finally halted the run but gave Ellensburg a 15-3 lead.
Landrie was telling her to serve deep, taking advantage of a struggling East Valley returner.
“I think it just got in her head,” Stueckle said. “It really worked.”
The Red Devils scored five of the next six points and a kill by Lyyski gave the Bulldogs a 20-8 lead.
The set ended with sophomore setter Maia Valencia getting an ace and Andaya scoring her fifth kill in the set to win 25-14.
“They came back — they got more aggressive, serves were in (and) played together,” Landrie said.
Ellensburg arguably played its most dominant set of the night in the third.
While leading 9-6, the Bulldogs won 13 of the next 15 points to take a 22-8 lead and eventually won the set 25-10.
Lyyski and Andaya combined for seven of the 11 kills in the set.
With East Valley leading 2-1 in the fourth set, Stueckle served nine straight points to give Ellensburg a 9-2 lead.
Ellensburg controlled the remaining of the set and won the match.
Andaya finished by recording 20 kills, 20 assists and nine digs.
“Tia’s a leader,” Landrie said. “It’s never all about her, she’s the biggest team player there ever is, even with the talent she has.”
Lyyski was second on the team with 13 kills and Valencia led the team with 22 assists.
The Bulldogs will play in the Yakima SunDome Volleyball Festival on Saturday.
“What I go out there for is court time,” Landrie said. “We’re probably going to try different lineups, try doing different things.”