Story and photos by Dan Trujillo

Who can stop the Ridgefield volleyball team?

So far, nobody in the 2A Greater St. Helens League has been able to slow down the defending state champions.

The Spudders defeated Columbia River 25-12, 25-16, 25-17 Tuesday in Ridgefield for their sixth league and eighth victory overall. Only Camas and Skyview, two 4A GSHL volleyball teams, have been able to take sets away from the sizzling Spudders.

“It’s important to start strong and finish strong,” said senior outside hitter Delaney Nicoll. “We need to continue to work hard. Nothing is going to be handed to us. We need to keep fighting.”

Nicoll led the attack against Columbia River with 16 kills, 9 digs and 2 blocks. Alicia Andrew was unstoppable at the net. She finished the match with 10 kills, 6 blocks, 4 digs and several service points.

“I think this win really signifies to our team that we can do this,” Andrew said. “When we play our game, don’t break down, put our whole heart into it and finish strong, we can accomplish anything.”

Emelia Stepaniuk collected 26 digs and 2 aces for Ridgefield. Kohana Fukuchi earned 17 assists and 6 digs. Emily Vossenkuhl added 5 kills, 4 blocks and 2 digs. Morgan Hartner finished with 24 assists and Presley McCaskill chipped in 4 kills and 4 blocks.

“Just lay it all out on the floor,” Stepaniuk said. “It’s a really good feeling to know that we worked out butts off to get that point.”

Rylie Reeves led Columbia River with 11 digs and 5 kills. Isabelle Ness notched 6 digs, 4 blocks and 3 kills. Maddie Sheron had 7 digs and 4 kills. Emma Adams earned 23 digs. Riley Zantas delivered 8 assists, 6 digs and 2 blocks.

Ridgefield is ready for the second run through league. Next time, the Spudders have to face rivals Woodland and Columbia River on the road.

“It’s not going to be easy, obviously,” Stepaniuk said. “We’re going to have to work hard for every point. But we’re ready to work for it and we want to work for it. We want to win state again.”

Delaney Nicoll, the 2018 2A All-State Player of the Year, delivers one of her 16 kills for Ridgefield.

Columbia River’s Rylie Reeves sets Maddie Sheron up for an attack against Ridgefield.

Caroline Hanson keeps the ball alive for River.