The Post Falls and Lake City volleyball teams played up to seed Friday in the first round of the State 5A tournament.
Now they’ll have to pull off upsets this morning to advance to the state championship match.
Region I champ Lake City overcame some opening-match jitters to knock off the District III runner-up Vallivue Falcons 20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 19-25, 15-13, while Region I runner-up Post Falls handled District III fifth-place seed Eagle 25-18, 22-25, 25-13, 25-15 in opening matches at Coeur d’Alene High School.
In the semifinals this morning, LC (20-5) faces traditional power and 2010 state runner-up Idaho Falls (32-7) at 9 followed two hours later by Post Falls (31-7) facing defending state champ Rocky Mountain (19-6).
Idaho Falls and Rocky Mountain each won their openers 3-0.
The state final is at 6 p.m.
For whatever reason, LC’s Timberwolves have been slow starters at times, and they followed that pattern in their opener against Vallivue.
In an error-filled first set, Vallivue made the fewest. The Falcons opened a 17-7 lead before LC tightened it up late. But a kill by Destry Osburn provided set point.
LC got rolling in sets two and three. It appeared that momentum would flow into the fourth set when LC opened a 4-0 lead. But the Falcons clawed back, building a 17-14 lead. Three kills by Maddie Osburn in the final four points sealed it for Vallivue.
The T-Wolves sputtered to open the deciding fifth set, trailing 6-4. But they took a lead at 8-7 and didn’t relinquish it although they had to work through some tense moments at the end.
Senior outside hitter Jennifer Schuman had five of her 17 kills in the final set, three in one stretch. Junior outside hitter/setter Kylie Curtis had a team-high 25 kills, 15 assists and three aces. Senior setter Camille Rounds had 27 assists, MacKenzie Brown had 20 digs and Schuman had 11 and Carly Farrell had six blocks.
“The great thing is our team overcomes it,” Schuman said of LC’s slow start. “Even though we might come out of the gate really slow once we get into our groove it’s insane. It’s great to finally set that high caliber of a game being so consistent.”
Schuman chalk some of LC’s struggles to nerves.
“None of us had been in this kind of an atmosphere,” Schuman said. “Trying to get that worked out, getting into the atmosphere and learning how to adapt to this … from here on out we’ll be fine.”
LC coach Bret Taylor applauded the hitting of Curtis and Schuman. But he said it took more for the T-Wolves to prevail.
“What sets it up is the defense and the serve/receive behind it all surely helps,” Taylor said. “Those two girls are very talented without a doubt, but the people behind them are good teammates.”
PF’s Trojans started like they were going to make quick work of the Eagle Mustangs.
After taking the first set, PF opened an 18-15 lead. But the Trojans suffered a minor hiccup as Eagle scored nine straight points on the way to evening the sets.
But PF, behind seniors Ashley Jibby and Allison Meehan, gained control in the third set and cruised to victory.
Jibby finished with a team-high 15 kills. Meehan added 10 to go with five blocks. It was one of her best matches of the season – especially after a midseason switch from right side to middle.
“She played great,” PF coach Willow Hanna said. “She’s really been coming alive. She’s been tough at the net. She transitioned into that position in the middle of the year. She’s just coming into her own.”
Meehan credited her team for coming out and making a statement.
“I thought we played with a lot of heart and intensity,” Meehan said. “We want this so bad. We came out aggressive and swinging at everything, and we served tough.”
Senior setter Tori Bertsch, who had 26 assists, did a nice job getting the ball to Jibby and Meehan.
“Whenever we’re passing good our hitters can hit,” Meehan said.
Jazmin Chavez had 11 kills and Bertsch and Brooke Litalian had 10 each.