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Mt. Spokane smiles after winning the State 3A volleyball championship on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Yakima, Wash. (@WIAAWA / Twitter)

State volleyball: Malina Ama leads Mt. Spokane to back-to-back 3A titles

After the Wildcats’ opening-round win Friday, Mt. Spokane coach Dave Whitehead said that his team was so talented, defending State 3A player of the year Malina Ama doesn’t have to be his best player on the floor on any given night.

Saturday night in the State 3A championship match in the Yakima SunDome, Ama reminded why she carries that title.

Ama had 14 kills, and the Wildcats came back from 5-1 in the fifth set to beat Capital and win their second consecutive championship at the Yakima SunDome on Saturday.

“It’s hard to describe,” Whitehead said. “It was amazing. Capital – we were the two best teams in the state in 3A. To play them, the way we did, up and down. It was incredible.”

“It’s an amazing feeling. You can’t explain it,” Ama said. “When it comes down to it, I just play the way I play, and how we all know how to play.”

Whitehead called timeout when his squad fell behind by four points in the deciding set.

“I just told them to relax and play their game,” he said.

The Wildcats tied the fifth set at 7, then scored eight of the next 10 points to seal the victory.

“It’s really fun to play good teams and play good,” Whitehead said. “And both teams did.”

Whitehead praised Ama.

“She stepped up and played some of her best volleyball all year,” he said. “To watch her play here at state, I’ve had the privilege four years in a row..”

Capital (25-6-2) jumped to a 6-4 lead early in the first set, but the Wildcats (30-2-1) stormed back to take a 25-18 win.

The Wildcats started slowly again in the second set and fell behind 10-4. They regrouped to tie it at 24, but Capital won 26-24 to even the match.

The third set was nip-and-tuck until the Wildcats reeled off consecutive points to win 25-23.

Mt. Spokane rode that momentum to a 9-6 lead in the fourth set, but Capital rushed back to go up 12-10 and eventually win 25-20.

Mt. Spokane swept Kelso (24-5) in a semifinal earlier in the day, 25-23, 25-17, 25-22.

4A

Camas 3, Mead 0: Kendall Buries had 10 kills with three blocks, but the Panthers (22-10) were beaten by the Papermakers (18-7) in a State 4A seventh-place bracket match at the Yakima SunDome. Castan Sturm added 13 digs with four service aces.

Records courtesy MaxPreps.com.