KENNEWICK -- It took most of the regular season, but the Southridge volleyball team is finally rolling.
The Suns swept aside Kennewick 25-22, 25-23, 25-20 in a CBBN 3A match at Southridge on Tuesday.
In the process, Southridge ended a four-match slide against the top three teams in the league -- West Valley, Hanford and Kennewick -- and moved into a tie for third place with three matches left.
"I think it will give us confidence going into the postseason," Southridge's Kensey Mix said, "and facing tough teams like Kennewick."
Southridge coach John Lengphounpraseut has changed his lineup since the first time the teams played, a match Kennewick won in five rallying from a 2-1 deficit.
The Suns came out strong from the get-go Tuesday, as Shelby Warner and Mix's serving, as well as strong play at the net by Isabella Midili and Emma Spurlock, overwhelmed the Lions.
"We just came out with confidence in our ability to play against Kennewick," Mix said. "And our ability to get the job done."
Southridge, which finished sixth at the Spokane Crossover Tournament over the weekend, built off that momentum Tuesday, according to Lengphounpraseut.
"I think we are finding the lineup we like," he said. "I think the confidence and our experience helps with that. I think we are getting used to each other."
That was never more evident than in the third set, when Southridge opened up a 12-5 lead, only to see Kennewick charge back to within 14-12.
But the Suns didn't let the run get to them, as they had so many times earlier in the season. Instead, Warner slammed a pair of kills and Spurlock added a kill to push Southridge's lead to 19-12.
"The response from our players was important," Lengphounpraseut said. "(In the past) we'd give up runs and panic, but we didn't do that tonight."
The Suns also did a good job of frustrating the Lions at the net, as Kennewick struggled against the blocking of Mix and Kylie Fraga.
"We had problems finding someone to put the ball away and getting the kill when we needed it," Kennewick coach Julie Maciboba said. "We kept digging ourselves some holes and we couldn't get out of them. We fought hard and we dug pretty well, but we didn't get the job done."
Mix's nine kills and six blocks led the Suns, while Spurlock added 11 kills and seven digs, and Midili finished with seven kills and 19 digs.
Torie Szendre's 10 kills, three blocks and two aces led the Lions (7-4), while Lizzy Ridley had 28 digs and Meghan McIntyre had 11 kills and 19 digs.
"Torie really stepped up. She is realizing she is a senior and doesn't have much time left and is going all out for us," Maciboba said. "We've got to move on. We have three big matches left. We have to finish on a good note going into the playoffs."
Set scores: 25-22, 25-23, 25-20.
Kennewick--Lizzy Ridley 28 digs; Meghan McIntyre 11 kills, 19 digs; Maddie Zinsli 30 assts, 7 digs, 3 kills; Sophie Clinton 9 kills, 3 blks; Torie Szendre 10 kills, 3 blks, 2 aces.
Southridge--Kensey Mix 9 kills, 6 blk; Emma Spurlock 11 kills, 7 digs; Isabella Midili 7 kills, 19 digs; Kimberly Brinkworth 6 kills, 9 digs; Shelby Warner 5 kills, 2 aces, 6 digs; Rylee Russell 15 digs; Kylie Fraga 4 kills, 35 assts, 13 digs; Breanna Baasch 2 aces, 8 digs.
* Craig Craker: 509-582-1509; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter.com/craig_craker