The Castle Rock Rockets took down the Kalama Chinooks in a volleyball battle Tuesday that ended 3-1 for the Rockets.

Going from 19-25 in the first set, the Rockets had some catching up to do. They followed with 25-22 in the second, 25-17 in the third and 25-22 in the fourth.

Castle Rock’s powerhouse Sunshine Watkins started off the game serving to Kalama. In what turned out to be a back and forth set, Kalama and Castle Rock put up points one after another keeping the sets close.

“We played a really tough match last night and we came out on top tonight,” Castle Rock coach Jeana Bayes said. “So to play back to back, I’m super proud of how we came out.”

According to Bayes, the Rockets tried out a few new lineups against the Chinooks, which seemed to pay off.

Castle Rock’s Logann Golden made the majority of their kills, grabbing 16 total and 10 digs throughout the entire game. Manuela Nasser followed shortly behind with 11 kills, six digs and four aces.

Kalama’s Rhegan O’Neil answered with 15 digs and 34 assists. Marlee Vickers also played strong for the Chinooks with 12 kills and 18 digs.

“Vickers just does a phenomenal job,” said Kalama coach Jeni O’Neil. “I was really happy with the entire team’s defense. We didn’t let our balls drop, we were always pursuing and that’s something we’ve been working on in practice. I was happy to see them apply that tonight.”

While Kalama took the first set, they fell behind in the second due to serves straight to the net, letting balls hit the floor in bounds and a few other errors.

“We don’t have much time until our next match,” O’Neil said is her goal. “Cutting down on mistakes is something we really need to focus on. Not panicking or willing the ball out, just making less errors.”

“I think we need to focus on keeping the ball more together and focusing on not having too many errors on our part,” Vickers said.

Castle Rock took full advantage of where the Chinooks holes were to make up for their own mistakes and grab kill after kill.

Ranae Holter snagged three kills, four aces, 23 assists, and 18 service points for Castle Rock.

The Rockets returned in the third set ready to make the end quick and easy, getting a 5-0 lead against the Chinooks. However, the Rockets started to slip in some mistakes as well, after missing a few serves.

“We missed a lot of those,” Watkins said. “We need to have trust in each other. Like when someone was tipping, someone would reach back, someone was there. We need to work on having trust.”

Kalama didn’t give up the fight though. They continually tied it up in the third set ending just eight points short.

“I think we did actually pretty well,” Vickers said. “I thought we crackled a little in the middle but overall all of us came together as a team. Our defense was amazing, hitting could work better, but I think we did awesome.”

The Chinooks continued their battle in the fourth, with each team taking turns making points. Kalama continued to find holes in the Rockets defense, making kills come easy. Holter missed the block from Kendal Collins’ shot, letting Kalama take the lead.

“Our background in general was good. I think we came together, we were doing rough but we still came together as a team and won,” Watkins said.

The Rockets came back, tied it up and passed Kalama in a few short kills. The Chinooks returned with a dig from Vickers to tie it up 22-22. In a few last moves, the Rockets grabbed the last three points to win the last set 25-22.

“No one wants to lose at the end of the night but I’m really happy of where we’ve grown the last few days of practice,” O’Neil said. “This is the foundation.”

Bayes said the win was good but more importantly, all of this is helping the rockets prepare for state.

“I’ve got a set lineup now,” Bayes said. “I know how we’re going to roll the rest of the season. We’re going to just keep pushing one play at a time and keep our confidence up. They performed really well tonight.”

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