Volleyball: Marshfield dominates in straight sets win over Cascade for first Class 4A title

For a moment, it looked like the Cascade volleyball team had forced the door to a Class 4A state title open during the second set of their championship match with Marshfield on Saturday night.

Then, it was slammed shut.

The No. 2 Cougars (18-4) surged back after trailing 20-13 to knot the second frame 22-22, but the top-seeded Pirates (24-3) swiftly responded, winning three of the last four points to take a commanding 2-0 lead heading into the third set.

The deficit proved to be insurmountable for Cascade, who ultimately dropped the third game 25-16 as Marshfield won in straight sets (25-14, 25-23, 25-16) in front of a packed house at Springfield High School to claim the 4A championship.

“Super proud of them,” Marshfield head coach Tammie Montiel said. “We knew going into the season that this was our goal and our dream, and for it to come to fruition the way it did, I’m just so excited for our players, for the town of Coos Bay, to have our first-ever volleyball state championship.”

Success started early and often for the Pirates, who jumped out to an 11-4 advantage in the first set and didn’t look back. Tatum Montiel recorded five kills as Marshfield overran the first frame 25-14, setting the stage for a back-and-forth second that proved to be critical.

“They’ve been close a lot of times,” Tammie Montiel said. “So to be able to do it, and with this group of girls, which is such an amazing group — I’d love to bring ‘em all home as daughters. All of them are like family”

Cascade’s second set rally was led by middle blocker Annabelle Peterson, who finished with a team-high nine kills for the Cougars. The junior ignited the Cascade crowd as she helped even the frame at 22 before Marshfield ultimately conquered 25-23.

“It really does just come down to who wanted it the most, and our girls came together and figured out a way to swing the momentum back our way,” Montiel said. “They didn’t get in their own heads, were able to shake off a couple errors, and get right back at things.”

Still, the Cougars continued to fight in the third set, jumping out to a 10-7 advantage before the Pirates parried once again.

An attacking error gave Marshfield its first lead of the third set at 11-10, and Tatum Montiel took over from there.

The sophomore outside hitter’s sidearm dig helped earn a pivotal point for the Pirates and drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd as Marshfield seized a 19-12 third-set advantage. Just moments later, Montiel’s ace had the Cougars’ backs against the wall.

“Volleyball is such a game of emotion and momentum,” Tammie Montiel said. “I don’t think there’s another sport where the momentum can shift like it did. Thankfully, we were able to keep it on our side for most of the match, and it’s a total head game too, so I was proud of the girls for keeping their emotions in check.”

Back to back service errors were ultimately the nail in the coffin for Cascade’s resilient title efforts as it fell in the third set 25-14. Senior Meah Carley contributed 21 assists, seven digs, and two blocks for the Cougars, while fellow senior Lucretia Benolken tallied eight kills and five digs.

Marshfield’s Bridget Gould finished with nine kills and three digs, while Ava Ainsworth recorded a game-high 22 assists. Junior libero Gracie Peach added 10 digs for the Pirates, who won their ninth-straight match en route to the title on Saturday.

“People asked me yesterday, ‘did you ever start to prepare your speech of what could’ve been or what’s next,’ and that thought never really went through my mind,” Montiel said. “I knew they had the fight in them to come back.”

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