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Nisqually Valley News

Yelm volleyball claims first win of the season over Todd Beamer


After a rough season opener against a strong Gig Harbor team last week, the Yelm High School volleyball team recovered from an uneven first set to defeat the Todd Beamer Titans, 3-1, Monday, Sept. 18 in Federal Way.

Neither the Tornados nor the Titans played consistently in the non-league match, with both teams struggling to pass and serve the ball at times, giving up key points throughout. The Tornados’ final point of the night came from a Titan service error, but they gave up a number of points of their own. The Tornados showed steady improvement throughout the night, however, after their first set, in which they lost 25-22.

“We always start cold,” first-year coach Heidi DeFord said, adding the Tornados settled down in their remaining sets.

She credited libero Layah Hicks with anchoring the Tornado defense, which was instrumental in the win. Hicks led her team with 15 digs, while Yelm came up with 56 on the night. DeFord said Yelm’s strength was its defense, Monday, while it took a while to get the offense going, something that the Tornados will continue to work on.

DeFord made a number of adjustments throughout the game, including the positions of some players, which she said is not ideal but paid off over the course of the night. Initially billed as a middle blocker, senior Henlee Sherman led the Tornados’ offense as an outside hitter, putting down six kills of the team’s 23.

In addition to Sherman and Hicks, DeFord recognized freshman Lilly Grant, playing her first varsity game, as well as sophomore middle/right-side hitter Jolee Reeves, who posted five blocks for the night. Carley Waite led with three aces, and Alondra Cintron-Roche put up 19 assists.

Despite her team’s inconsistency, DeFord was pleased with the improvement the Tornados showed over their first match. She said, as long as her players stay focused, maintain communication on the court and work on consistent passing, she thinks they will end up in a respectable position at the end of the season.

“My goal is to not really focus on the wins and losses but focus on the improvement,” DeFord said.

Yelm played Timberline Tuesday, Sept. 19 at home in a South Puget Sound League match, but results were not available before press time. The Tornados will next face Peninsula Thursday, Sept. 21 on the road.

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