KENNEWICK -- The Kennewick volleyball team hopes history repeats itself this week.
The Lions swept rival Southridge 25-19, 25-22, 25-19 on Tuesday night in a Class 3A Eastern Washington regional tournament elimination match at the Lions Den.
A year ago, Kennewick knocked off Southridge in the same situation and rode that victory to its first state tournament appearance.
"Last year, it came down to crucial points at the end of the match, and we didn't know if we would win. It was really a shocker," Kennewick's Meghan McIntyre said.
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"This year, we knew what was going to happen. In the third game, we knew it was over."
With the victory, the Lions will play Mount Spokane at 3 p.m. Saturday at West Valley in Yakima.
The winner of that match earns a state berth, while the loser will face the Kamiakin-West Valley loser in a match to determine a state berth.
On Tuesday, the Lions dominated from the outset, a complete reversal from the last two times the teams met. On Oct. 11, the Suns swept the Lions, and at the CBBN district tournament Saturday at West Valley, Southridge took a 2-1 lead before Kennewick rallied for a five-set victory.
"We had some team drama going on, and our heads and hearts weren't in it at Southridge," McIntyre said. "We've totally picked it up in district. We are capable of sweeping anyone when we talk and keep our energy up."
The Suns struggled to shake off letting a 13-8 lead get away in the fifth set of Saturday's loss against Kennewick.
"We were flat in practice (Monday)," Southridge coach John Lengphounpraseut said. "It is very disappointing. All these years I've been coaching, I did not envision my team ending like this. I know we had a struggling start to the season, but I thought we got everything cleaned up and fixed. We just came out flat tonight."
Led by Tori Szendre's strong serving in the opener, Kennewick rallied from a 10-5 deficit, going on a 14-2 run to change the match dynamics.
Szendre served six consecutive points and McIntyre five points during the run.
"We just focused on keeping our energy up and recognizing what the hitter was doing and reacting," Kennewick coach Julie Maciboba said. "The girls playing together with lots of energy has really made the difference."
The second set was back-and-forth, until Southridge made some mistakes in the final points and the Lions scored five of the last seven points to eke out the victory.
In the final set, the Lions had all the momentum, closing on an 8-2 run to break a 17-17 tie.
Brittany Evans served an ace to cap the victory.
"Southridge is a really good team, but we had a good match," Szendre said. "The experience (from making state in 2010) definitely helps. We know what to expect and are willing to put in the work."
McIntyre led the Lions with 12 kills, 18 digs and four aces. Sophie Clinton added 10 kills, Szendre had eight kills and three blocks, and Carlee Rhodes finished with 15 digs and five kills.
Kylie Fraga had 21 assists and 10 digs to lead Southridge, while Shelby Warner added nine kills and five digs.
"We committed too many errors," Lengphounpraseut said. "We couldn't mount any string of points; we kept shooting ourselves in the foot."
Set scores: 25-19, 25-22, 25-19. Southridge--Shelby Warner 9 kills, 5 digs; Kensey Mix 4 kills, 6 blocks; Alyssa Palmer 4 kills, 3 digs; Kylie Fraga 21 assists, 10 digs; Breanna Baasch 6 digs; Kimberly Brinkworth 11 digs. Kennewick--Kelly Dyer 8 digs, 2 aces; Maddie Zinsli 30 assists, 9 digs; Meghan McIntyre 12 kills, 18 digs, 4 aces; Sophie Clinton 10 kills; Tori Szendre 8 kills, 3 blocks; Lizzy Ridley 13 digs; Carlee Rhodes 15 digs, 5 kills.
* Craig Craker; 509-582-1509; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter.com/craig_craker