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Colville wins State 1A volleyball title

YAKIMA – Bring on the soda and candy.

After a season without sugary treats that ended with a state championship, the Colville Indians will make up for lost time with a trip to the local grocery today after blitzing Castle Rock, 26-24, 25-22, 25-21, in the State 1A volleyball tournament at the SunDome.

The win is the first team title in a girls sport for Colville. It came after a teamwide commitment to focus that included swearing off candy bars and soft drinks.

“Our kids have been talking for days about going to Safeway,” coach Missy Bennett said while shifting her grip on the state championship trophy. “I’ve waited a long time to hold this. I’m not putting it down.”

The top-ranked Indians (29-1) struggled early as Castle Rock deviated from its usual heavy hitting attack, choosing instead to use off-speed stuff to attack the middle of the Colville defense.

But midway through the second game, trailing 20-15, Bennett made an adjustment. It was exactly what was needed and the Indians never looked back.

Setter Leanna Carr was the key for Colville. The 5-foot-6 junior had 42 assists – to go with 41 in the semifinal – and Joellee Bucker (16 kills) and Erin Little were the beneficiaries.

Bennett made a point of saying after Friday’s quarterfinal win that she personally was looking forward to a semifinal matchup with second-ranked King’s, which was embroiled in a gritty four-game, come-from-behind quarterfinal win over Cedar Park Christian at the time.

Her Indians had to go the full five games to get past the 2010 runner-up, 25-18, 24-26, 17-25, 25-17, 15-12. And they needed some volleyball tricks to advance.

With the match tied at 12 in the fifth game, Carr used the volleyball equivalent of a no-look pass to turn the side. Knowing that King’s defensive set-up left open spots in the middle, she opted for a “dump,” flicking the ball over head to an open spot while defenders prepare for a block.

“It’s a great play,” Carr said. “It totally throws the other team off.”

She followed that with a nifty set to Jacy Vining on the left side for an emphatic winner and the Indians were on their way.

The Freeman Scotties bounced back from the quarterfinal loss, beating Zillah, 25-15, 25-14, 25-16 and La Salle, 25-12, 25-16, 25-22, to claim the fifth-place trophy.

A change in the trophy allocation bumped the Scotties down from where they would have placed in the past.