With defending champion Colfax – winner of four of the last five state titles – absent from the State 2B volleyball tournament field for the first time since 1992, the Liberty Lancers picked the perfect time to earn their first state semifinal berth at the Yakima Valley SunDome on Thursday.
Liberty rallied from down a set and went the full five to beat Morton-White Pass 25-15, 19-25, 23-25, 25-19, 18-16 in its opener, then slipped past Kittitas 25-18, 25-12, 26-24 to advance to the semifinals. The Lancers will play Mossyrock at 9:45 Friday in the first semifinal.
After surviving the opening match – she called it “crazy” – Liberty coach Kaci Tee was concerned about getting her team focused for a semifinal match that was crucial to their goal of bringing a trophy home from this weekend after falling just short in 2017.
“I was concerned because we didn’t play our best ball and I thought the jitters were a problem for us,” Tee said. “But both of our outside hitters – Maisie Burnham and Aleena Cook – came thru big for us when we needed them.”
Burnham had 26 kills against MWP and Cook was credited with 23 digs. Burnham had 18 kills against Kittitas. Emma Holwegner had 35 assists in the two matches.
Northwest Christian came back from a five-set loss to Kalama in its opener and powered past Walla Walla Valley Academy 21-25, 27-17, 25-19, 25-23. The Crusaders face MWP in a consolation match at 8 a.m. NWC must win that match to advance to the trophy round at 11:45.
After finishing eighth in 2017, Selkirk set the bar high for 2018. The Rangers wanted to get to the semifinals and play Oakesdale, the three-time defending champs. After breezing past Naselle 25-12, 27-25, 25-22 and surviving Auburn Adventist 26-24, 25-12, 25-27, 25-13, Selkirk landed right where it aimed – in the semifinals against the Nighthawks at 11:45 a.m.
“Last year we got eighth place and we wanted to do better this year,” Selkirk coach Pam Zimmerman said shortly after unleashing a shriek of delight in front of a small but vocal contingent of Selkirk supporters. “These girls have such grit.”
Oakesdale made short work of Sunnyside Christian (25-11, 25-4, 25-12) in its opener and Pateros (25-10, 25-14, 25-6) in the quarterfinals to advance. The Nighthawks – comfortable enough in Yakima to refer to it as a second home after a trip in September for the SunDome Volleyball Festival – are gunning for their seventh title since 2011.
“Jenna Couch, our setter, and Logan Reid, (Oakesdale’s) big hitter, are cousins,” Zimmerman said. “It will be like a family affair.”
Almira/Coulee-Hartline also got to the semifinals – for the fourth time in the school’s last five trips to state – knocking off Tacoma Baptist in the opener 25-15, 25-17, 25-15 and toppling Providence Classical 24-11, 25-14, 25-12 to get into the semifinals. The Warriors will play Pomeroy at 11:45 a.m.
District 8 3A
Malina Ama had nine kills, Telia Allen added 14 assists with three aces and visiting second-seeded Mt. Spokane beat top-seeded Southridge in straight sets (25-23, 25-14, 25-17) in the title game.
The Wildcats qualified for state and the Suns will play in the district second-place game on Saturday. Katie Rhodes had six blocks and Tia Allen added 13 digs for Mt. Spokane.
Kamiakin 3, North Central 0: The visiting fourth-seeded Indians were eliminated by the third-seeded Braves in straight sets (25-9, 25-15, 25-7). Kamiakin faces Hermiston in a loser-out on Saturday.
Hermiston 3, Shadle Park 0: The fifth-seeded Bulldogs eliminated the visiting sixth-seeded Highlanders in straight sets (25-15, 25-20, 25-23) in a loser-out.