Having split their Sacramento Valley League matches this season, the second round NSCIF Division IV playoff match served as the backdrop for the rubber match between the Colusa and Willows volleyball teams with the winner punching its ticket to the championship game.
But last Tuesday night in Willows, it just didn’t go the No. 3 RedHawks’ way as they fell 17-25, 20-25, 25-22, 19-25 to the No. 2 Honkers.
Despite a quick start in the first set, after a pair of kills from Karsyn Gwinnup and one by Carly Simmons, the short-handed Willows squad made up the difference shortly thereafter and never relinquished it en route to a relatively easy win.
Riding that momentum, Willows jumped ahead early in the second set, and although Colusa kept it close, unforced errors proved to be the RedHawks’ undoing.
Yet, the RedHawks showed their mettle in the third, and despite not being able to create much separation from the Honkers, they heated up down the stretch behind three kills from Elle Faris and a big block from Addison Lay to end the set.
While it initially looked as though Colusa was finding its rhythm in what was to be the final set, the Honkers were able to keep them out of system and capitalize on free ball opportunities to close out the match.
Gwinnup finished the night with 11 kills, Faris notched 10, Brooklyn Bradbury dished out 17 assists, and Allie Reading served five aces for the RedHawks.
Defensively, Lexy Avera made 12 digs and 42 receptions, while Simmons had 11 digs and 24 receptions.
Now 24-10, Colusa received a berth in the CIF Division V State Volleyball Championships as the No. 14 seed, and were in Lakeport on Tuesday night to take on No. 3 Clear Lake, a team they beat 3-1 in the first game of the 2022 season. ■