Perfect time to execute

Camas volleyball team puts it all on the line at the state tournament

The Camas Papermakers slayed the Battle Ground Tigers in the district championship volleyball match Saturday, but this might not be the last time these two rivals clash on the court.

“Our only two losses were against Battle Ground. That lit that fire,” said senior middle blocker Sophi Jacobson.

“We talked about beating them when it counts,” added senior outside hitter Carly Banks. “Saturday was the perfect time to execute and get back to state.”

Camas came out on fire and won the first set 25-14, then cooled off and lost the second set 25-12. The Papermakers built a 6-1 advantage in the third set on pivotal points by Banks, Lauren Harris and Anna Roche, and rolled along to a 25-16 victory.

Battle Ground led by eight points in a must-win fourth set, but Camas wouldn’t let them off the hook. The Papermakers rallied for six points in a row to win the match 25-22, all with Jacobson serving.

“We had control of the game at the end, if we had the serve,” Jacobson said. “I kept that in the back of my mind. It was all those points in a row that helped us gain confidence and pull through.”

Banks racked up 15 kills and 3 blocks, and Jacobson added 10 kills, 2 blocks and 2 aces. Harris finished with 8 kills and 15 digs. Christina Elliott earned 37 assists. Erika Weber delivered 18 digs and Abby Young added 14 digs. Roche had 8 blocks and 2 kills. Nicole Loewen chipped in 8 digs and 2 aces.

“Between illnesses and injuries, it’s nice to see the girls clicking on all cylinders again,” said head coach Julie Nidick. “It all comes down to this weekend. If our girls can play like they did against Battle Ground, I give them a shot at any one in the state.”

Camas faces Gig Harbor in the first round Friday, at 1:30 p.m., at St. Martin’s University, in Lacey. A win there, and the Papermakers will likely run into No. 1 ranked Emerald Ridge Friday evening. Emerald Ridge defeated Camas in the state quarterfinals in 2013, and has not lost a match yet in 2014.

“You have to beat everybody if you want to be the best in the state,” Nidick said. “We have girls who have been working towards this for four years of high school. They will define their senior year by what happens this weekend. Win or lose, you want them to have a positive experience.”

Banks and Jacobson feel a sense of urgency and pride during this final week of volleyball practice. There’s never been a more perfect time to execute.

“There’s a whole different mojo on the court,” Jacobson said. “Not only is there a desire to win, but we are also wrapping up our whole high school experience.”

“If you can play to the best of your ability, you won’t leave with regret,” Banks added. “That’s our plan. We talk about it all the time. It’s just a matter of going out there and actually doing it.”