Fans young and old, parents, students and school administrators filled sections of the Toyota Center on both sides to offer their support to the Walla Walla volleyball team, which was making it’s first state appearance since 2002.
The Blue Devils lost their opening match to Curtis, but came back with a vengeance Friday night with a 25-11, 25-23, 25-22 victory over Jackson in a loser-out match at the 4A state tournament.
“I am very proud of them,” Wa-Hi coach Tracy Rotert said of her team. “They got rid of that awe of coming to state, settled in and played how we have played all season.”
The Blue Devils will play Eastlake at 11 a.m. Saturday in a loser-out match. The winner will advance to the seventh-eighth trophy match at 3 p.m.
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After taking the first two sets, Wa-Hi trailed by eight points twice in the third before pulling into a 21-21 tie.
Hannah Hair, a 6-foot sophomore, put up a block on match point to keep the Blue Devils alive.
“We let them go on some runs,” Rotert said. “We got tense and our hitting got sloppy. It’s a mark of a good team to come back from that. Hannah loves blocking more than anything, an the team feeds off that.”
Hair finished with nine kills and five blocks.
“I love that she is mine and I have her for two more years,” Rotert said. “She gels so well with everyone and that makes our team that much better.”
Noelani Helm led the Blue Devils with 13 kills and 13 assists, while Kamryn Coleman and Emma Wenzel each had four kills and Jordan Wicklund 13 assists and seven digs.
LAKE STEVENS 3, RICHLAND 2: The Bombers lost their second five-set match of the day to the Vikings, bringing an end to a sterling season.
“The hard part is you don’t finish on your terms,” Richland coach Bob Raidl said. “We lost two five-set matches to good teams. We want it to be what we want, but it’s out of our control. You don’t want it to be done. That’s the hard part of life.”
Richland, which won their third consecutive Mid-Columbia Conference title with a 14-0 record, looked to be in control of the match, taking a 2-1 lead, but Lake Stevens rallied back for a 21-25, 25-19, 17-25, 25-22, 15-11 victory that ended just after 10:30 p.m..
The Vikings will play West Valley (Yakima) at 11 a.m. Saturday, with the winner advancing to the seventh-eighth trophy match at 3 p.m.
Richland was in control of the third set from the start, and led 24-13 before the Vikings stopped the plundering. Lake Stevens staved off four set points before finally falling 25-17.
In the fourth, Richland’s last lead was 13-12. The Bombers would tie the score twice more, but could not regain control.
Richland led 3-2 in the fifth, then Vikings took over for good.
Jordanne Bauder led the Bombers with 12 kills and six digs, while Hailey Daves and Lindsay Rosenthal each had 10 kills, Sage Brustad eight kills and 21 digs, and Lainie Lacey 35 digs.
“Jordanne gave us a lot,” Raidle said. “She is very, very competitive.”