A couple of area prep volleyball powers - Mead and Sandpoint - faced off in the Crossover Classic final Saturday with the Panthers prevailing in an entertaining match.
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Coaches often refrain from tooting the horn of their own flesh and blood.
Not only did Mead coach Judy Kight not mind doing so Saturday,
she practically brought out an orchestra after the Panthers captured their
fifth Crossover Classic volleyball championship with a 19-25, 25-21, 15-13 win
Junior middle hitter Kaely Kight had eight kills, most of which came at key moments, and eight digs to lead the No. 1-ranked Panthers.
“Kaely Kight owned the match. Quote me on it,” her mother, Judy Kight, said. “I would have said it about anybody, but she owned the match. She played so aggressively and went right at them – over and over and over. Front row, back row, it didn’t matter.”
Mead had to rally after falling in the first set, and then the Panthers (18-2 overall) found themselves in a 13-10 hole in the third.
The Panthers’ towering 6-foot-5 middle Alexis Olgard started the final rally with a kill off a quick set. The next two points came off a block that was touched as it fell out of bounds and a four-hit possession by Sandpoint.
Mead pulled ahead 14-13 when the Bulldogs were called for a lift after a kill attempt by Piper Wahlin was blocked. Match point came on an ace by setter Emma Barrington.
Olgard finished with a match-high 10 kills to go with four blocks and two aces. A handful of other Panthers also had an impact, making it obvious that Mead is a multidimensional team.
“Many of these kids came up big,” Kight said. “It’s nice to be able to put a bunch of kids in there and know they’re going to get the job done.”
Mead advanced to the title match by topping in-district rival
Sandpoint (19-4) came into the tournament after suffering two uncharacteristic losses in the last two weeks. But the Bulldogs went 6-1 Saturday and coach Karen Alsager thought her team got its groove back.
The Bulldogs started strong against Mead. They opened a 20-13 lead and extended the advantage to 24-16. A kill from Wahlin secured the set.
In the second set, Mead opened a 20-16 lead. Sandpoint got within 20-19, but the Panthers pulled away.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” Alsager said. “We were looking to get our rhythm back and we accomplished that today. We learned some lessons and got re-motivated. Today is a good result of a second half of the season re-commitment.”
Alsager thought her team had things in control ahead 13-10.
“Once it hit 13-10 I thought ‘I think we probably have this’,” she said. “And we had the serve. But against a team like that, there are no guarantees. They have firepower and they made us work really hard. But I wouldn’t trade my team – their passion, their heart, their character out on the court, their desire – I wouldn’t trade that for any team.”