Erickson

La Center’s Laynie Erickson powers a hit through King’s Way blockers.

Photo by Cale Johnson

Wildcats have chance to earn league titles Thursday and Friday

La Center’s football and volleyball teams are both set to finish the regular season with matchups against Castle Rock at the end of this week.

Oddly enough, it’ll be the most important game of the season so far for both Wildcat squads. 

In football, La Center has a 3-0 league record while the Rockets are 2-1. If the Wildcats can pull out a win in Castle Rock Friday in a game that begins at 7 p.m., they’ll be sole Trico champions. 

On the volleyball side, La Center is 7-1 (as of The Reflector’s monday deadline) and the Rockets are 8-0. Assuming both teams win their prior matches Tuesday night, the Wildcats will be taking on Castle Rock in La Center Thursday at 7 p.m. for a chance to share the league crown. 

Volleyball

The Wildcats have already battled the Rockets once this season and were beaten 3-1. They endured a raucous home crowd in Castle Rock and are hoping their own home fans will provide a similar advantage in La Center this time around.

“We have great fans,” said Head Coach Cymany O'Brien. “We’ll need them to be loud for us.”

O’Brien said a showdown with Castle Rock will be the perfect way to end the regular season if her group can take care of business Tuesday at Seton Catholic. 

“We’re right where we thought we’d be in the end,” O’Brien said. “We’ve improved on the mental side of things since the last time we saw them.”

In the roughly two and a half weeks since that match, La Center has swept through league opponents Stevenson, White Salmon and most recently King’s Way, all 3-0. Against King’s Way last Thursday, Laynie Erickson led the way, as she has all year, with 18 kills, three blocks and six digs. Sydney Mairose also posted double-digit kills (10), Katie Leslie recorded 19 digs and Amanda Holm had 32 assists.

Although La Center took one game from the Rockets last time, O’Brien said her team dug too many holes throughout the course of the match. Junior star Laynie Erickson said the Wildcats’ defense has improved since the last outing.

“They have big hitters, we have big hitters … It’s gonna be good,” Erickson said. “I’m excited it’s (probably) coming down to this.”

Football

While the volleyball team is a slight underdog against Castle Rock, the football team will be heavy favorites. Even though the game is a winner-take-all league title showdown, it may not be very close. 

La Center had growing pains early in the season, but are now a state-ranked squad at 6-2. Nobody else in the Trico League, however, has been a challenge. Castle Rock, for example, is 3-5 on the year and was beat a few weeks ago 22-12 by White Salmon. 

Last week, the Wildcats beat White Salmon 42-0.

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