Lewiston volleyball coach Kelly Harwick wasn’t overly concerned when her team dropped the first two games in the 5A Region I championship game Tuesday.
Harwick watched her team rally from a similar deficit against 4A state power Sandpoint this season.
The visiting Bengals pulled off another rally, knocking off Inland Empire League champ Post Falls 19-25, 22-25, 25-12, 25-17, 15-7 in an error-filled match to capture what’s believed to be their first regional title in school history.
Lewiston (18-11) advances to state, Oct. 30-31 at a site to be determined in the Coeur d’Alene area.
Post Falls (25-8), which went 6-0 in league, will play host to Lake City (13-15) on Saturday at noon to decide a second state berth.
As if as easily as flipping a switch, the Bengals jumped back into the match in a hurry in the third game behind 6-foot-2 middle hitter Savannah Blinn.
Blinn, who was rather quiet with just five kills in the first two games, finished with a match-high 20 to go with six blocks.
“I don’t really know what happened. A spark flew …,” Blinn said. “Kelly (Harwick) and all the coaches motivated us in the huddle. They just gave us all the strength to pull through the last few games.”
The Bengals opened a 6-1 lead in the third game and the Trojans didn’t have an answer.
The momentum continued into the fourth game. A kill by Blinn gave the Bengals a 10-4 lead.
Post Falls had its best stretch in the final three games at that point, pulling even at 12-12. But Lewiston used a 9-1 run to build a 24-16 lead.
Lewiston got game point on a kill by junior middle hitter Morgan Blewett.
Lewiston opened a 4-0 margin in the final game. Post Falls pulled within 7-5 before the Bengals outscored the Trojans 8-2 to secure the title.
“I’ve seen my team struggle and then I’ve seen them five points later be an entirely different team,” Harwick said. “They turned it on, and once you get to a point that you have nothing to lose, that’s when you can really play with your heart.”
Post Falls senior outside hitter Dani Meehan had a team-high 14 kills and 17 digs.
It was no mystery to Trojans coach Willow Hanna as to what happened to her team.
“I think we just played tight,” Hanna said. “We made a couple of mistakes and they just couldn’t shake it. We didn’t swing like we normally (do) and we didn’t serve tough as we usually do. A lot of hitting errors hurt us.”
•Lake City eliminated Coeur d’Alene (2-22) 25-16, 25-18, 25-14 at LC.
LC coach Bret Taylor switched to a 6-2 offense, opening up hitting opportunities for senior setter Hilary Ayers. She responded with a season-high nine kills to go with 13 assists and four aces.
•1A Division I playoff: Lakeside topped Wallace 3-1 at Plummer in a loser-out match. The Knights will play for a state berth Saturday against the District II third-place team at Coeur d’Alene. Ruth Brunelle led Lakeside with 12 kills and nine digs.