It has been almost two weeks since the Southridge volleyball team finished third at state, and yet it still doesn’t quite seem real to Kylie Fraga.
The junior setter helped lead the Suns to the state tournament for the third time in school history. Southridge placed for the first time, defeating Holy Names Academy in four sets to finish third in the Class 3A tournament Nov. 10 in Lacey.
“Honestly, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Fraga said. “It is still pretty crazy. Third in the state is pretty big. It’s a pretty big deal.”
For her part in Southridge’s run, Fraga is the Tri-City Herald’s volleyball athlete of the year. Her coach, John Lengphounpraseut, is the coach of the year.
“It was just a really great season overall,” Fraga said. “I think with how young we were, it was awesome to go this far. It was really special to get so far and have everyone come back and try to get even further next year.”
Fraga is joined on the first team by Southridge teammate Kimberly Brinkworth, a junior middle blocker.
“It feels good,” Lengphounpraseut said. “Looking back to see what a great run for these kids, it still feels really good.”
Also on the first team are Chiawana’s Jaymee Steach and Shantelle Hill, Richland’s Alisha Bettinson, and Kamiakin’s Amanda Miller and Hunter Durham.
Bettinson was on the first team last year as well.
Richland finished eighth at state, earning its first victory at the state tournament. It was the third time the Bombers had advanced to state.
Chiawana tied with Richland for the Mid-Columbia Conference title and was one match short of playing for a state tournament berth. Kamiakin was the top Class 3A seed before being upset by Southridge at the regional tournament.
In the end, though, the 2012 volleyball season turned into a coronation for a Suns team with no seniors.
“It was a great feeling and nice to reflect back to what happened,” Lengphounpraseut said. “There will be a lot of pressure put on us, and those are things we will have to deal with.”
The players and coaches were able to take a week off before the club season cranked up, giving them very little time to reflect on the season’s accomplishments.
“It’s kind of been low-key just because it was so exciting, and now it is back to not playing together anymore,” Fraga said. “The one-week break was nice.”
Most Valuable Player:
Kylie Fraga, junior, Southridge, setter
John Lengphounpraseut, Southridge
Jaymee Steach, senior, Chiawana, setter
Alisha Bettinson, senior, Richland, hitter
Hunter Durham, senior, Kamiakin, libero
Kimberly Brinkworth, junior, Southridge, middle
Shantelle Hill, junior, Chiawana, hitter
Amanda Miller, junior, Kamiakin, hitter
Elizabeth Quick, senior, Richland, hitter
Maddie Zinsli, senior, Kennewick, setter
Michelle Schultz, senior, Connell, hitter
Madison Powers, senior, Chiawana, middle
Sierra Linke, senior, Pasco, middle
Marisol Diaz, senior, Pasco, libero
Nikki Eldred, senior, Hanford, hitter
Emma Spurlock, junior, Southridge, hitter
Jessica Edminster, senior, Kamiakin, setter
Payton Parrish, senior, Grandview, hitter
Harley McBride, senior, Columbia (Burbank), middle
Shanda Gunter, senior, Kiona-Benton, middle