YAKIMA – After a 15 year break, the Lakeside Eagles took a state championship volleyball trophy home Saturday night after defeating Lynden Christian 25-17, 26-24, 17-25, 26-24 to win in the State 1A tournament in the SunDome.
The Eagles won state titles in 2000 and 2001 behind Jen Barcus, but there was a bit of a dry spell that followed. They took home trophies – including a third and two runner-up finishes – but couldn’t get their hands on the big gold ball again. Until Saturday.
Using a powerhouse front line of Joelle Mahowald and Kelley Morrison, the Eagles took the fight to Lynden Christian from the start.
Lakeside established early control in the title match, taking leads of 7-2 and 15-4 in the first game. The Lyncs pulled a bit closer – cutting it to 23-17 – before Lakeside closed it out, 25-17.
The second game was back and forth. Lakeside lead 16-10 but the Lyncs rallied to get the lead at 23-22 before falling 26-24.
“Our kids just battled and battled,” coach Kara Moffatt said afterward. “That’s a great team. We were prepared to play a great team and we haven’t been able to see them, so we had to do what we do.”
The Lyncs and Eagles have played four times at state – but hadn’t played since 2002. Lakeside has won all four matches.
“I knew we were big and I knew we could dominate,” Mahowald said after the match. “It’s just so awesome to see all the girls come together.”
Lynden Christian raced to a 20-7 lead in the third game. Lakeside chipped back to get to within seven points at 24-17 before the Lyncs forced a fourth game.
The Eagles needed four games to move past rival Freeman in the semifinals, struggling in a 20-25 loss in the first game before winning three straight, 25-10, 25-15, 15-17.
The semifinal match was emotional for Eagles coach Kara Moffatt. She was hoarse from yelling and in tears after her team vanquished the only team to defeat the Eagles this year. It was Lakeside’s third win over Freeman this season.
“I don’t have much voice left and I’m really excited,” Moffatt said, dabbing tears from her eyes. “I love this team. Our passing carried us once we got over the jitters in the first game.”