KENNEWICK – Until 10 days ago, Kara Weitz didn’t know if she’d get the chance to return to the court for the Pullman volleyball team.
The senior setter suffered a concussion at practice last month while shagging balls, and as her second in as many years, it was unsure she would get clearance to play.
Finally, she got two doctors to sign off, and she returned to practice two days before the regional tournament.
“You could just feel it on the practice court,” said her father, Greyhounds coach Dave Weitz. “It just brought up the whole team.”
The Hounds went on a roll that concluded Saturday night at the Toyota Center with their second straight State 2A championship, beating Selah 25-27, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18 in the final.
“This is what we’ve played for since sixth grade,” said Kara, who had 44 assists in the title match. “I was not going to miss this chance. I was not going to let a little bruise on my head keep me from playing the rest of my senior year.”
The Greyhounds struggled through the first set and a half until all-tournament libero April Oviatt served three consecutive aces to give them a 17-16 lead.
The set was tied at 21 when tournament MVP Shelby Cheslek scored a pair of kills to put Pullman over the top.
“We were tight,” coach Weitz said. “That set and a half was the worst we’d played since districts. I don’t know what clicked, but when we started staying home on defense, getting their balls up, our confidence went up, and we were able to get into our transition offense.”
The Greyhounds got payback from league rival West Valley in the semifinals, avenging their loss in the district finals with a dominating performance, 25-14, 25-19, 23-25, 25-14.
The teams ended up splitting their four matches this season, with Pullman winning when it counted most.
“We always go back and forth with West Valley, but the first three times we played, we didn’t have Kara or Kendra (Bone). We finally have our whole team together.”
The Eagles got a measure of revenge in the third-place match, rolling past Grandview 25-19, 25-23, 25-22 to post their best finish in five state appearances.
“We couldn’t change what happened against Pullman,” said senior Shaniqua Nilles, an all-tourney selection who had 14 kills and 17 digs in her final high school match. “I’m proud of what we’ve done this year. Third is pretty great. We’ll take that any day.”