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State volleyball: Oakesdale cruises to State 1B title; Liberty third in 2B

YAKIMA – Oakesdale’s Nighthawks soared to their fourth consecutive State 1B volleyball title at the Yakima Valley SunDome on Friday afternoon, beating Almira/Coulee-Hartline 25-13, 21-25, 25-14, 25-22 in the title match.

The Nighthawks’ second-set loss was their only set loss in sweeping through the tournament. The squad lost just six sets thru the course of the season.

Almira/Coulee-Hartline advanced to the title match with a grueling five-set win over Pomeroy (25-11, 18-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-6) but seemed to run out of gas after taking the second set.

Oakesdale – which has won seven of the last eight 1B titles – advanced to the title match with a 25-21, 25-19, 25-17 win over Selkirk, which made its first semifinal appearance.

Oakesdale coach Brandi Brown gave a lot of credit to the Rangers but noted her team is known for slow starts.

“I think Selkirk came out pretty darn strong. We had to come back from behind a lot and they kept pushing us,” she said. “We finally found our grit and just it done.”

As far as the slow start, Brown has become as accustomed as a coach can be to those.

“That’s typically what we’ve done. We tend to find what we want at the right time,” she said. “These girls have a lot of heart and they have a no-lose attitude. They know what we expect. I do a lot of the talking and possible chewing in practice. They know what they’ve done wrong and they self-correct or encourage each other to correct. So, I only have to yell a few times.”

The Rangers acquitted themselves well in their first semifinal appearance.

“I thought we held them up pretty good there for a while. Maybe we’re better than we have been in the past,” Selkirk coach Pam Zimmerman said. “We always talk about needing a shovel to dig ourselves out of the hole we put ourselves in. Tonight, we needed a backhoe.”

The Rangers claimed the fourth-place trophy after losing to Pomeroy 25-13, 25-19, 25-13.

2B

Liberty didn’t make many mistakes in its four-set loss to two-time defending runner-up Mossyrock in the 2B semifinals. But the Vikings made almost none after the first set, advancing 25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 25-27.

Liberty coach Kaci Tee was happy with how her team competed despite the loss.

“They’ve been in the championship game the last two years. Today was all new to us; none of our girls have even been to the second day of a state tournament,” she said. “The girls were excited for a new experience, maybe too excited.

“I’m just proud of the way they fought. They didn’t give up.”

“I told the girls this morning, right now this is icing on the cake. Whatever we do from here on out is a bonus, so go out and relax and play your game. I thought they did that; to win that first game against a team like Mossyrock. And the other three games they never gave up. They fought to the very end,” she said.

“There were a few tears after the game, but I told them you’ve got to get past that. I reminded them that third-place trophy can be ours if you can bounce back and play our game and fight for it.”

That’s exactly what happened as the Lancers claimed the third-place hardware by surviving an exhausting five-set win over Tri-Cities Prep (25-23, 27-29, 19-25, 25-19, 15-13).

Northwest Christian finished seventh, beating Morton-White Pass, 22-25, 25-15, 25-7, 25-14 to advance and knocking off Wahkiakum in the trophy match 25-17, 19-25, 25-16, 25-20.

1A

Freeman and Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) were knocked into the consolation bracket on the tourney’s first day.

It was believed coming into the tournament that the Northeast 1A rivals could meet in the semifinals for the second time in three years. Instead, both teams must win early games just to have a shot at a trophy.

The Scotties made short work of Nooksack Valley in the opener, 25-19, 27-25, 25-13, then ran into a Charles Wright buzz saw in the quarterfinals, 25-18, 25-20, 25-17. The Scotties will play La Salle in the consolation round at 11 a.m.

Lakeside was beaten by King’s in the opening round for the second year in a row, 20-25, 25-20, 18-25, 20-25. The Eagles came back to eliminate La Center 25-17, 20-25, 25-14, 27-25 and will face Nooksack Valley in an 11 a.m consolation match.

District 8 4A

Joli Poplawski had 34 assists with three aces and sixth-seeded University eliminated fifth-seeded Walla Walla 25-17, 16-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-13 in the third-place game at Chiawana HS. The Titans qualified for the state tournament next weekend at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

In earlier loser-out matches, Lauren Fleury had 13 kills with 11 digs and U-Hi eliminated fourth-seeded Gonzaga Prep 22-25, 25-13, 25-18, 25-23 while second-seeded Mead fell to Walla Walla in five sets.

State 2A

Pullman came back from two sets down but fell to Ridgefield 25-17, 25-14, 20-25, 18-25, 15-9 in a state first-round match at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. Pullman rebounded to sweep Washington 25-23, 33-31, 25-13 in a loser-out clash.

The Greyhounds battle White River in the seventh-place bracket at 2:30 p.m. today.