Two bitter volleyball rivals fighting for their seasons. Of course it was going five sets.
With Kamiakin winning the first and third sets, and Southridge the second and fourth, it came down to a dogfight in the fifth.
The Braves won it, keeping their season alive with Thursday night’s 25-16, 23-25, 25-11, 25-27, 15-13 victory at Kennewick High School.
Kamiakin advances to play Shadle Park at 1 p.m. Saturday in a Class 3A bi-district loser-out match at Mt. Spokane High School.
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“Southridge did an amazing job,” Braves coach Morgan Schauble said. “Playing against them is never easy. We had a lot of talks this week about playing for each other and playing with energy.”
Suns coach John Lengphounpraseut said he expected the match to be a battle.
“Their outside hitters were better than ours — that was the difference,” Lengphounpraseut said. “I’m proud of our girls. They never fell apart. They came out and fought to the end. Too bad we came up short.”
Kamiakin needed every ounce of energy in the tank in the fifth set as Southridge jumped out to a 7-5 lead. There would be seven ties from then on, the last at 13-all, before the Braves put the match away.
A misplayed ball by Southridge went into the net to give the Braves a 14-13 lead. With Madison Judy serving, Kamiakin got the final point as Leanna Shymanski drilled the ball through the Suns’ defense for the win.
“It was like this wave of emotion came over me,” Shymanski said. “I’m so blessed to have the teammates I do. It took every person on our team to win this. I’m so proud of us.”
After Kamiakin won the opening set, Southridge held off the Braves down the stretch to take the second game. The Suns put the ball off a Kamiakin block for the winning point.
Kamaile Moody had a string of four points to give Southridge a 24-18 lead, but four consecutive points by Judy had Kamiakin right back in the thick of things at 24-23.
In the third, the Braves make quick work of the Suns, who early in the set led 4-0 and 5-1. Maddy Eerkes reeled off five consecutive points for a 7-5 lead, and Judy strung together seven points for a 20-8 advantage.
Allison Stapleton tipped the ball around a block for a 24-11 lead, then sent the ball off a block for the game winner.
But the Suns were relentless. In the fourth set, the teams battled back and forth and were tied at 25-all before a kill by Sophia Sumner gave Southridge a 26-25 lead. An unforced error by the Braves gave the Suns set point.
Stapleton led the Braves with 24 kills, while Shymanski had 15 kills (with only one error) and five blocks. Eerkes had 57 assists.
“We wanted to keep it consistent, especially against Southridge,” Stapleton said. “We have wanted another shot at them since we lost to them in conference play. We got that tonight.”
Riley Hebdon had a big night for the Suns with 19 kills, while Lauren Beck had 11 kills and Moody 40 assists.
Set scores: Southridge 25-16, 23-25, 25-11, 25-27, 15-13. Southridge: Riley Hebdon 19K, 3 aces, 9 digs; Lauren Beck 11K, 4B; Kamaile Moody 40 assts; Sophia Sumner 10K, Kayla Conrad 31 digs. Kamiakin: Allison Stapleton 24K, 2B, 9 digs; Leanna Shymanski 15K, 5B, 5 digs; Madison Judy 13K, 11 digs; Maddy Eerkes 57 assts, 11 digs.