The Southridge volleyball team didn’t get the hardware it had hoped for this season, but the Suns still had a remarkable year.
For the second consecutive season, Southridge took third at the Class 3A state tournament.
This year, though, they had hoped to win the state title and were favorites going in before losing to Mercer Island in the semifinals.
“It was kind of a learning experience I guess,” senior Kylie Fraga said. “You can’t expect anything. You have to go in and know that not everything is going to go your way.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work out. It is just how it happened I guess.”
Fraga had a remarkable season, leading the Suns to a 29-2 record and earning the Mid-Columbia Conference MVP award.
For her amazing year, Fraga is the Tri-City Herald’s all-area player of the year. Her coach, John Lengphounpraseut, is the coach of the year.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “It’s going to be quite some time before any team can duplicate what we’ve done. These senior players had great leadership — a great experience for all of us. Winning state would’ve been the icing on the cake for us.”
Fraga is hoping to play at the next level and is talking to Seattle University and New Mexico State University, along with a handful of smaller colleges. She is going to wait and make a decision until later in the club volleyball season, hoping for more exposure at some of the bigger tournaments.
“Getting third twice is a pretty big accomplishment,” she said. “Even though obviously we wanted to get first, these last two seasons were pretty memorable for me.”
Southridge dominated the first team, as Kimberly Brinkworth (senior, middle blocker), Paige Thompson (senior, middle blocker) and Makenna Behrens (sophomore, libero) all made it.
Brinkworth took an official visit to Eastern Washington recently and could sign with the Eagles.
Also on the first team is Kamiakin’s Amanda Miller (senior, outside hitter), Chiawana’s Shantelle Hill (senior, outside hitter) and Connell’s Courtney Colclasure (junior, setter).
Connell advanced to the Class 1A state tournament, while Chiawana and Kamiakin each came within a match of making their respective state tournaments.
But this season was all about Southridge, which wrapped up a remarkable two-year run. The Suns were ranked No. 1 all season and cruised through their first two state matches before letting a lead get away in the semifinals against Mercer Island.
“It took me awhile to get over what happened at state,” Lengphoun-praseut said. “To tell you the truth, I was numb the whole time. It took awhile to get back to normal again.
“We had the team to do it ... but knowing we were just right there goes to show you the strength of the team.”
Kelly Wahl | middle blocker, sr., Hanford
Morgan Wilder | middle blocker, sr., Kennewick
Mary Hoppes | outside hitter, sr., Tri-Cities Prep
Taylor Hall | outside hitter, sr., Grandview
Delaney Hodgins | setter, sr., Chiawana
Rachel Leshikar | libero, jr., Kamiakin
Samantha Grove | middle blocker, jr., Grandview
Maddie Heine | middle blocker, sr., Chiawana
Hailey Turner | outside hitter, jr., Richland
Jordan Mix | outside hitter, jr., Southridge
Taylor Moody | setter, soph., Richland
Peyton Wahl | libero, sr., Richland