Prairie High School volleyball took on a top-10 matchup with league rival Kelso High School on Monday, Oct. 9. The Falcons swept the Hilanders in three straight sets then followed that performance later in the week with another league win over Mountain View High School on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Coming into Monday’s top-10 matchup, WIAA statewide 3A rankings had Prairie ranked fourth and Kelso ranked seventh. The two 3A Greater St. Helens League teams remained in the top 10 in the new rankings on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The Falcons stayed at No. 4, while Kelso dropped to ninth overall.
“We’re not really paying attention to rankings right now. We just knew that this was an important matchup, and Kelso has a really good and scrappy program,” Prairie volleyball head coach Jen Palmer said. “We always know that we need to come and be ready to compete against them, and luckily we played a top team, a competitive team.”
On Thursday, Oct. 5, the Falcons played an away game against the Camas Papermakers, in which Prairie fought their way to a competitive loss in the fifth set against the No. 1 4A team. “[Against Camas], we played the best that we played all season,” Palmer said. “So we felt pretty confident going into tonight.”
Against the Kelso Hilanders, Prairie’s Ali Millspaugh led the Falcons with 11 kills, two blocks, three digs and one ace. Prairie’s 6-foot, 1-inch Diamond Doutrive recorded eight kills and three blocks. The lone freshman on the Falcons’ varsity roster, Gracie Jacoby recorded nine kills, one block, 17 assists and four digs. Prairie took the three sets 25-17, 25-17, 25-12.
“I think our ball control for the most part was pretty good. I think we did pretty good on serves, even being scrappy on defense,” Palmer said. “I think Ali Millspaugh had a pretty great night for us. We had some leaders that stepped up, started executing a little bit better in the second half of the match, and Diamond [Doutrive] was pretty big for us.”
Prairie competed in a tournament on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Mountain View High School and a non-league game against Skyview High School on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Results were not available at time of print. The Falcons will next play Union High School at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19 at home before traveling for the second meeting with the Kelso Hilanders at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 23
“Our focus is just about bettering ourselves every single time,” Palmer said of their approach this season.
The Falcons sat at 9-1 on the season and 5-0 in league play as of Friday, Oct. 13.