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The Greyhounds' undefeated season ends in the NWL Tournament championship game, but the playoffs await.

PMG FILE PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Gaston's Cayden Henderson sets a ball during the Greyhounds' game against Vernonia earlier this season. Gaston lost their first match of the year in the NWL Tournament championship game Oct. 23.They say timing is everything. Well, the timing couldn't have been much worse for the Gaston volleyball team, which lost its first match of the year in the Northwest League Tournament's championship game Saturday afternoon, Oct. 23, at Vernonia High School.

The Greyhounds (19-1), who dominated the league's regular season, were defeated by third-place Vernonia (19-5) in four sets, 25-14, 25-17, 12-25, 25-18, and in the process lost the league's top seed for the upcoming state playoffs beginning Oct. 30.

Gaston head coach Melody McMasters said her team obviously didn't play their best game, but she was quick to give credit where credit was due: to the Loggers.

"Certainly, we weren't at our best, but I'm going to give a lot of credit to Vernonia," McMasters said. "They did a great job, mixed up their lineup with a new setter, and took care of business."

Unfortunately for Gaston, the same couldn't be said for them. The Greyhounds struggled both serving and returning, which ultimately cost them the tournament and No. 1 seed. But while down, they're certainly not out, and they are looking forward to proving so when the postseason begins this Saturday, Oct. 30.

"We have a lot of serving and returning things we need to fix if we're going to move forward," the Gaston coach said. "As my assistant coach always says, the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins, so we need to make sure our passes are where they need to be and our serves are in."

And how they respond to their first defeat will dictate a lot.

McMasters believes they'll be ready, but she said she'll know more after their first couple of practices to start the week.

"We'll see what happens in the next few days," she said. "We had a little bit of a mixed bag of emotions after the game, but I think we'll be ready. We have the talent and the personnel, it just a matter of having the right attitude and putting in the hard work."

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