The Ridgefield Spudders beat the Hockinson Hawks 3 sets to 0 at Hockinson High School on Thursday for their 11th straight win this season. Graduating only one senior last year, the defending state champions remain undefeated in their goal to protect the throne.
Hockinson started strong to let Ridgefield know it wasn’t going to be an easy win with the Hawks putting up 22 and 20 points in the first two sets.
“This wasn’t a typical lineup for us,” Head Coach Sabrina Dobbs said about the first two sets. “I think that it was adjusting and not having our typical and consistent lineup that we have.”
Dobbs said the group found their flow and “figured it out” for the third set, which Ridgefield won 25-7 as senior Delaney Nicoll finished the game strong with 21 kills and 16 serves.
“Coming into the first two sets, we didn’t play our best. We didn’t talk to each other and we didn’t have good energy,” Nicoll said. “Towards the end I started talking to everybody and powering them up.”
As for the undefeated status following a state championship, Nicoll said the team needs to work hard and stay mentally tough.
“We only graduated one senior (after last year) so we knew we had a good team,” Nicoll concluded.
Head Coach Dobbs said the team is focused on living in the moment and preparing for the end of the season.
“We’ve been doing a mental video type thing on Mondays to make sure we are mentally prepared for the end of the season,” she said. “The girls always say that when they’re on the court every point is a new point and that we are not looking into the future.”
Ridgefield heads back home this week to play Mark Morris on Tuesday, Oct. 22, and R. A. Long on Tuesday, Oct. 29. They will close out the regular season at Columbia River High School on Thursday, Oct. 31.
As for Hockinson, Head Coach Joe Boken said he was proud of the girls for playing as hard as they did.
“We know they’re the state champions. They have great hitters and all-around players,” he said. “We tried to put them in trouble with our service offense and defense right away.”
Boken said he feels the Hawks executed the “troublemaking” for Ridgefield.
“We put them into trouble so they wouldn’t get hard driven balls against us,” he said.
He later said the energy level fell off during the third set but he was still proud of the team.
“To think we played the state champions as well as we did was great,” he said. “They returned pretty much everybody (after last season) and we knew it was going to be an uphill battle.”
This month, the Hawks are dressed in all-pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“Breast Cancer Awareness really got its footing and start in volleyball,” Boken said. “Volleyball really set the tone for all the other sports.”
Hockinson heads to Washougal for a game on Tuesday, Oct. 22, and plays a game at home on Thursday, Oct. 24. They will close out the season at Woodland High School on Thursday, Oct. 31.