Some things never change with Mead’s volleyball team, even after big changes.
The Panthers claimed the District 8 4A championship for the 12th time in the last 14 years on Saturday by sweeping Central Valley 25-18, 25-23, 25-21 at Mead High.
First-year coach Elaina Renius, leading a roster with limited varsity experience, followed in the footsteps of former coach Judy Kight and her Mead Machine.
Mead (20-6) earned the right to host the regional tournament and will play for a state bid at 2 p.m. Saturday against Mid-Columbia Conference No. 1 Chiawana.
“It’s not like we wanted to win districts because Mead always wins districts,” said senior co-captain Brianna Evans. “I think this is our own team. It isn’t last year’s team or the team before that, and we wanted to win districts for ourselves.”
“This group will be remembered forever, specifically in my memory, and it’s just the beginning,” Renius said. “The next two weeks are going to be fun.”
CV (20-8) earned the second regional berth by topping Gonzaga Prep 25-23, 25-21, 26-28, 25-12. The Bears will play MCC No. 2 Richland in a loser-out match at 4. The winner will meet the Mead-Chiawana loser at 6 for the second state berth.
Mead controlled the first game of the title match with two 6-0 bursts.
CV was tied at 23 in the second game and within 21-18 in the third, but Mead made fewer mistakes and displayed more balance.
“In the second and third games, when we were down for a little bit, we turned it on when we needed to and we came back and fought strong,” said senior Kellie Egan, who had eight kills and two blocks.
In the second match, Lewis and Clark served for the first game at 24-19, but G-Prep scored the final seven points. The second game, 25-23 for LC, featured 16 ties. LC lost all-leaguer Emily Romasko to a high-ankle sprain in the third game, but still pushed G-Prep to five games.
G-Prep gave CV fits in the final match, leading the first game 23-22 and trailing the second 22-21, but the Bears held on.
“We have a lot of hitters who can put the ball away, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes,” CV coach Amanda Bailey said. “So we’re trying to eliminate some of those in the front row.”
3A regionals: University and Shadle Park swept home matches to join Kamiakin and host Southridge for Saturday’s state-qualifying round. Brooklynn Tacke had nine kills in U-Hi’s win over Hanford. Rachel Stuart and Chloe Brooks had nine kills apiece in Shadle’s win over Kennewick at Rogers High. Shadle will play Southridge at noon and U-Hi will meet Kamiakin at 2 p.m. in winner-to-state matches. Three will make state.
District 7 1A: Kaela Straw had 26 kills and 25 digs as host Freeman defeated Lakeside 3-1 in the title match. Both teams advance to Saturday’s regional at Cascade (Leavenworth). They’ll be joined by Newport, which eliminated Riverside 3-2 behind Hadley Stratton’s 10 kills, four aces and three blocks. Three will advance to state.
District 7 2B: Taylor Larsen and Nicole Sheer had 13 kills apiece as Colfax swept Davenport in the title match at St. George’s. First-round matchups for Saturday’s 2B regional in Pasco are: Northwest Christian vs. Asotin; Reardan vs. Colfax; Dayton vs. Davenport; and Lind-Ritzville/Sprague vs. Tri-Cities Prep. Five will make state.