If you’re going to win your first Cowapa League match in almost two years, you might as well make it a victory over your rivals.
That’s what the Astoria volleyball team accomplished Thursday night on their home floor, as the Lady Fishermen scored their first official league victory since 2015 … and did it with a win over Seaside, 25-13, 24-26, 25-20, 25-23.
“It’s a great feeling — it feels good to get a win,” said Astoria coach Jessie Todd. “We were 0-10 last year, and this is my first league win as coach. It’s a testament to how hard these girls are working. They come in and work hard every day, and I could not be prouder of them.”
In a match that seemed destined to go five games, Astoria ended it in four, with the Gulls battling right to the finish.
The Lady Fishermen opened with an easy victory in Game 1, as Astoria senior Corrin Howard connected on eight straight serves for an 8-0 lead. Howard — who was on Seaside’s junior varsity roster last year — finished with four aces.
Meanwhile, Astoria’s lead reached 22-9, before Julia Norris finished it with a kill off a block.
The Gulls turned the momentum their way in Game 2. An ace serve by Alyssia Gonzales helped Seaside reel off an 11-5 run to open the game.
Astoria rallied to force ties at 16, 17, 23 and 24, but the Lady Fish could never take the lead.
After Norris set Madi Landwehr for a kill that tied the game at 24-24, the Gulls scored the next two points, with Anna Huddleston giving a back-set to Gonzales for a kill, and Jette Ideue aced the next serve for game point.
Astoria built a quick 6-1 lead in Game 3, but Seaside fought back, tied the game at 9-9 on an off-speed kill from Ideue, then took a 14-13 lead following an Astoria attack error.
But the Fishermen caught the momentum wave again and rode it all the way to the finish.
Landwehr served up a pair of aces to put Astoria up 17-14, Norris had back-to-back service aces to make it 22-17, and Howard finished it off with another ace for the win.
Landwehr finished with six ace serves, to with a team-high 12 kills.
The Gulls hurt themselves with missed serves in each game — four in Game 2, four in Game 3 and three in the fourth game.
Still, the Gulls led 19-16 in Game 4, following kills by Tori Tomlin and Gonzales, and two points off long rallies.
Emy Kiser’s ace made it 21-18 and the match appeared headed for a fifth game, but Astoria saved its best for last.
During a timeout, “I told them to keep the unforced errors down, and to get to their spots defensively,” Todd said. “Most of all, we had the confidence that we could come back.”
Chelsea Christensen took over at the service line, and with the help of a pair of sets by Norris that led to kills for Kes Sandstrom and Landwehr, Christensen served the Lady Fish into a 22-21 lead.
After the Gulls tied it at 22-22, Astoria took advantage of an attack error by the Gulls, and a kill from Darian Hageman. And another Seaside attack went into the net at match point, ending one long night.
And one long wait for the Lady Fishermen.
“We started off strong defensively, and (Howard’s) serving gave us some confidence right away in the first game,” Todd said. “That and our student section. They were really hyped up tonight and played a big part in this win.”
In other Cowapa League volleyball action Thursday, Valley Catholic beat Banks, 27-25, 25-13, 25-18; and Tillamook defeated Scappoose, 15-25, 25-14, 25-20, 26-24.