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Phelan, Knights rise to occasion

Junior’s 17 kills help EV outlast Pullman

East Valley volleyball coach Darin Wold had a short leash on Jordan Phelan on Tuesday.

But Phelan wouldn’t let anything hold her back in a crucial Great Northern League match against visiting Pullman.

Phelan, a junior outside hitter, and senior OH Shalyn Stack had 17 kills apiece as the Knights improved to 7-0 in league play by outlasting the Greyhounds 18-25, 25-20, 25-19, 22-25, 15-9.

Phelan rolled her ankle Friday in an opening match against Sandpoint at the Linda Sheridan Volleyball Classic. She didn’t play during Saturday’s matches and was limited to serving and receiving when she practiced Monday.

Wold saw no indication that she was favoring her ankle in early practice Tuesday.

“So I said, ‘I’m going to let you play, but the second it looks bad I’m going to you and you’re sitting on the bench,’ ” Wold said. … “Now, that’s a tough kid. Twice last year she played with the flu and I didn’t find out until the next day.”

The taller Greyhounds (4-2), swept by EV in Pullman three weeks ago, forced a fifth game by breaking from an 18-all fourth-game tie with big blocks. But EV dashed to a 7-4 lead in the deciding game, boosted by four Phelan kills, and never backed down.

“Our coach told us to refocus and make sure we’re playing with all of our heart, because we knew if we were 7-0 that would be an awesome spot to be,” Phelan said.

Lizzie George, a 6-foot-1 middle hitter, sparked Pullman’s first-game win with three kills off EV oversets.

Pullman mistakes allowed EV to break from an 11-all second-game tie with a 6-1 run.

The third game was tied 12 times, the last at 15, before Emily Sior’s tip and Phelan’s kill guided a 4-0 run.

Pullman led the fourth game 12-4 as Logan Bledsoe served six consecutive points, including two aces. EV responded with an 8-0 run behind Brooklynn Juris’ two aces, but blocks by Alex Shirey, Melissa Langerveld and Sydney Lawrence put Pullman in control.

The Knights never trailed the final game after a long serve gave them a 4-3 edge.

“I have a group of girls who can all do a little bit of everything so well,” Wold said. “They will take you out of your system and they will make you continually play until you make a mistake.”

Pullman and EV shared the league title last season, the first crown for the Knights since 1998. The teams will meet again Oct. 21 in Pullman.

“This is really hard, having to beat somebody three times,” Wold said. “It’s tough enough to beat them once, then really tough to beat them twice. And if you’re beating them three times … you have to pull out all the stops.”

Also in the league, Erin Higbie had 18 kills and five aces as West Valley (1-6) rallied for a 17-25, 18-25, 25-22, 25-8, 15-5 win at Clarkston. Tori Zeimantz had 12 kills for the Bantams (3-3), who defeated WV 3-2 on Sept. 18.

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