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Mt. Spokane takes second

Bishop Blanchet defeated Mt. Spokane in the 3A state volleyball championship match.

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By Greg Lee

Staff writer

KENNEWICK – The Mt. Spokane volleyball team accomplished too much for coach John Reid to be upset Saturday.

Bishop Blanchet, ranked No. 1 most of the season, captured its second State 3A championship in four years, stopping Mt. Spokane 15-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-14 at the Toyota Center.

It’s just the fourth time a Greater Spokane League team lost to a non-GSL school in a state title match.

The Wildcats played splendidly in the first set, but Blanchet, behind tournament most valuable player Summer Nash, took over from that point.

“In the first game we played our regular game,” Reid said. “And then she just took over. She was fun to watch. How do you serve like that? It was just beautiful.”

Once the Braves secured momentum, Mt. Spokane couldn’t regain it.

“I’m disappointed for the kids to lose in the finals, but I’m not disappointed,” Reid said. “It was one of our goals to do something different, that we’ve never done before. We did.”

The Wildcats didn’t place the first year they qualified two years ago and they took seventh last year. They finished the season with just two losses – both to state champions (Mead and Blanchet).

In the first set, Mt. Spokane pulled away quickly. Late in the set, setter Mary Konis had back-to-back aces (five overall) that gave the Wildcats their biggest lead at 24-12. A kill by sophomore Annie Arnzen, who was named to the all-tournament team, secured set point.

Then it was if the Braves hit a switch. They opened a 12-1 lead in the second set and it appeared the Wildcats wouldn’t reach double digits. A five-point run late in the set allowed Mt. Spokane to make it respectable.

In the third set, the Wildcats tied the score seven times but were never able to take a lead.

The fourth set was much like the second in which the Braves never trailed as they opened a 7-1 lead.

A handful of times, the Wildcats were tentative, not sure who should take charge and hit the ball.

“They’re young kids. They were a little nervous,” Reid said. “I saw balls dropping that we’ve never seen ever.”

Afterward, Reid told his players to watch Blanchet celebrate. He wants his team to do the same next year.

“The bulk of our offense was sophomores and juniors,” Reid said.

Blanchet coach Matt Chang was impressed with the Wildcats.

“They’re great,” Chang said. “It’s just unbelievable how young they are.

They’re going to be great for the next few years.”

Arnzen led the Wildcats with 14 kills.

Mt. Spokane advanced to the final with a hard-fought 25-18. 25-19, 18-25, 21-25, 15-7 win over Prairie.

The Wildcats were cruising along against Prairie, seemingly on their way to a three-set win. The Falcons built a 15-9 lead in the third set, but Mt. Spokane fought back to tie it at 18-18.

Prairie ran off the final seven points to extend the match.

In the fourth set, the Wildcats again appeared poise to finish off the Falcons with a 20-15 lead. But moments later,  Prairie scored eight unanswered to force the fifth set.

Mt. Spokane didn’t fool around this time, opening an 8-3 lead – a deficit the Falcons couldn’t recover from.

Arnzen had a match-high 20 kills. LeAnna Lloyd added 11 and Reid chipped in 28 assists and 12 digs.

 




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Greg Lee
Greg Lee covers high school sports in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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