The entire question had hardly been vocalized when Mead coach Judy Kight began fighting back tears as she struggled to answer through a cracked voice.
Who is No. 11 – the girl who played a total of seven points for the Panthers at the end of their District 8 4A volleyball match against the Central Valley Bears on Tuesday night?
“She” is Mead senior setter Meghan Elmore, and she broke her fibula on the third day of the Greater Spokane League season. In terms of fighting back, the night belonged to her.
In terms of the district title, the night belonged to the Panthers, who swept the visiting Bears 25-16, 25-18, 25-16 to earn the district’s top seed to the regional tournament.
“She literally just got cleared to play with us,” Kight said when she could manage to speak.
After taking a 20-14 lead in the third set, Kight put Elmore in to serve. She played the final points of the match, and every time she touched the ball in any way, the crowd – which remained on its feet after giving Elmore a standing ovation – went crazy.
“I think everybody got chills,” Kight said. “We were all standing up at the bench, and we were all trying not to cry – I mean, it was fabulous. Just unreal.
“To go down as a senior on the third day of the season is devastating, and she has been nothing but totally and completely dedicated to supporting the team.”
Washington State-bound outside hitter Taylor Ellingsen led the Panthers with 13 kills and Paige Montgomery added eight kills and three blocks.
Starting setter Jonni Dorr finished with 32 assists and four aces. Sierra Crook was solid in the back row and finished with a team-high 10 digs.
“It was hard watching all season, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Elmore said of her Panthers. “I’m just happy. I’m excited to see what we can do. Hopefully, we’ll make a run.”
The Bears, led by Sequoia Lofton’s eight kills and two blocks, will host Lewis and Clark on Thursday for the second and final berth to the four-team regional tournament.
“Game 3 (against Mead) was great – I was happy we finally started cutting down on errors and playing the way we can and we should,” CV coach Chris Kosty said.
LC’s Tigers, led by 11 kills from Joslyn Bopray, swept Gonzaga Prep 25-20, 25-16, 25-12 to eliminate the Bullpups from postseason play.