LACEY The Southridge volleyball team opened the Class 3A state tournament Friday with an easy three-set victory over Bishop Blanchet at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey.
The top-ranked Suns swept the Braves 25-13, 25-22, 25-12 to advance to the quarterfinals at 6:45 p.m. Friday against Oak Harbor.
“I think we did really well,” Southridge setter Kylie Fraga said. “We came out really strong as a team and really played together.
“We were kind of nervous at first. We were freaking out a bit, but as the game went on we got in our routine and played really well.”
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If a three-set victory is freaking out, then the rest of the state is in trouble.
The Suns have only lost once this season and are undefeated in five-set matches. They took third place at state in 2012 and return everyone from that team.
While they faced few problems with Blanchet, coach John Lengphounpraseut cautioned his players to not get overconfident.
“Blanchet are a scrappy team, but they don’t have the offense to match us,” he said. “We have to be careful because now we have to go up against a team with a couple of good, big hitters.”
Oak Harbor upset Eastside Catholic in five sets, winning 27-25, 25-23, 14-25, 16-25, 15-10.
For Southridge, Alyssa Palmer was key against Blanchet, especially on defense. Blanchet tried to work the right side, but Palmer was able to dig a lot of balls out to keep the Suns in control.
“It was a great start,” Lengphounpraseut said. “Our offense kind of overcame, because our serve receive was not as strong. I think the noise affected us, but we played great defense.”
Kimmy Brinkworth and Jordan Mix led the offense, recording 10 and nine kills respectively. Paige Thompson was also a force on the block.