The Class 4A regional volleyball title escaped the grasp of the Richland Bombers on Saturday afternoon, but they fought back to beat Gonzaga Prep to punch their ticket to the state tournament.
“People who are left this time of year are used to winning,” Richland coach Bob Raidl said. “That’s what’s wonderful about this team. They feed off of each other. That’s what being a team is all about.”
Richland last went to state in 2012, when the Bombers finished eighth.
The host Bombers opened play against Mead in the regional championship match, dropping the first two sets before making the Panthers earn their trophy.
Mead won 25-14, 25-21, 14-25, 26-24 for its second consecutive regional title.
“Richland is a dangerous team,” Mead coach Shawn Wilson said. “They turned things around and rode the momentum in the third set. In the fourth, the same thing was happening. We flipped the switch at 15-20.”
The Bombers turned around and beat Gonzaga Prep 25-22, 27-25, 25-18 to secure the No. 2 seed to state, which will be held Nov. 11-12 at Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Against Mead, the Bombers fell behind early in the first set, trailing 11-5, 18-9 and 22-12 before the Panthers put the game away.
In the second, Richland forged ties of 20-20 and 21-21 late in the set, but a missed serve by McKenna Cullen put Mead up 22-21. Sarah Absalonson served the final three points of the set to take a 2-0 lead.
Richland took control of the third set from the start and never let up on the gas.
Jordanne Bauder and Lexi Lacey each had three service points in helping the Bombers to a 7-1 lead. Freshman Hailey Daves strung together four points for a 16-8 lead, and kills by Lindsay Rosenthal and Sarah Howlett powered Richland at the end.
The Bombers were poised to send the match to a fifth set, leading 20-15 and 23-20 late in the fourth.
Tied at 24-all, McKenna Russell’s tip fell behind the block, and Mead’s Madison Lee closed it out with a kill on match point.
“They have been resilient all year,” Raidl said of his team. “We were a couple of points short of a fifth set. They are a great team, and so are we. It’s not in their nature to quit; it’s in their nature to fight. To play well against a team that good, we should be proud. The only thing we lost was the score.”
Kamry Breard led the Bombers with 13 kills, 13 digs and 17 assists, while Madelaine Haynie had five kills and seven blocks, and Lainie Lacey 41 digs.
Set scores: Mead d. Richland 25-14, 25-21, 14-25, 26-24. Mead: Amanda Chan 14K, 23 digs, 2B; Madison Lee 12K, 17 digs; Lindsey Russell 34 assts, 7K; Katherine McEuen 3B; McKenna Russell 2B, 7K, 3 aces. Richland: Kamry Breard 13K, 13 digs, 17 assts; Lexi Lacey 7K, 13 digs; Lindsay Rosenthal 8K, 15 digs; Sarah Howlett 7K; Madelaine Haynie 5K, 7B; Jordanne Bauder 19 assts; Lainie Lacey 41 digs.
Set scores: Richland d. Gonzaga Prep 25-22, 27-25, 25-18. Richland: Sarah Howlett 15K; Kamry Breard 9K, 7 digs, 19 assts; Lindsay Rosenthal 10K, 14 digs; Lexi Lacey 6K, 12 digs; Lainie Lacey 19 digs; Jordanne Bauder 22 assts, 8 digs.
FERRIS 3, CHIAWANA 1: The Riverhawks were able to take a set from the Saxons, but fell short in the end in regional play at Richland High School.
Chiawana pulled to within 23-22 in the fourth set, but a kill by Annika Briggs and a Ferris block sealed the win for the Saxons, who later dropped a loser-out match to Gonzaga Prep.
McKaidan Moore led the Riverhawks with 15 kills and 14 digs, while Ashtin Olin added 14 kills and 27 assists.
Briggs led Ferris with 16 kills, while Katelyn Brock had 35 assists.
Set scores: Ferris 25-18, 16-25, 25-23, 25-22. Ferris: Katelyn Brock 35 assts, 5 aces; Annika Briggs 16K; Sidney Lemer 5B; Carly Cox 23 digs. Chiawana: McKaidan Moore 15K, 4B, 14 digs; Ashtin Olin 14K, 27 assts; Yaneli Garcia 9K, 2 aces; Marissa Logozzo 19 digs, 2 aces.
GONZAGA PREP 3, PASCO 0: The Bullpups knocked the Bulldogs out of regional action at Richland High School.
“We started too slow,” Pasco coach Jackie Fluaitt said. “I am really proud of them. Since Pasco and Chiawana split, this is the furthest we have gone. We had a great season.”
Catelyn Linke, who has committed to Eastern Washington, led the Bulldogs with 17 kills and 13 digs. Bella Gutierrez handed out 18 assists, and Victoria Estes had 20 digs.
Ellie Rivard led G-Prep with 11 kills and 11 digs.
Set scores: Gonzaga Prep 25-16, 25-12, 25-22. Gonzaga Prep: Ellie Rivard 11K, 11 digs; Maddie West 10K, 3B; Emily Zink 23 assts; Hoku Vargas 18 assts; Kate Budig 9K, 19 digs. Pasco: Catelyn Linke 17K, 2B, 13 digs; Victoria Estes 2K, 3 assts, 20 digs; Bella Gutierrez 18 assts, 7 digs; Angelica Guzman 7 digs.