It’s a familiar experience for Mead, with the sense of something new.
It’s a fairly new experience for Central Valley, with the sense that it will become familiar.
Mead (21-6) and CV (22-8) dominated Saturday’s 4A regional tournament at Mead and qualified for next weekend’s State 4A tourney in Lacey.
Mead defeated Chiawana of Pasco 3-1 in the first match of the day, for the regional title. The seven-time state-champion Panthers clinched a state berth for the 15th consecutive year and the 24th overall.
CV followed with back-to-back wins, 3-1 against Richland (16-14) and 3-0 against Chiawana (22-8), to earn the second state berth in school history
Both are under the direction of first-year coaches, Mead’s Elaina Renius and CV’s Amanda Bailey.
Although Mead is accustomed to making state, doing so with a first-year coach and players with little state experience made it seem novel.
“It’s not automatic,” said senior Rylie Carty, who had seven kills and three aces. “We knew we were going to have some struggles and we knew that it was going to be tough, but we came in today and we wanted to win, so we made that happen.”
“With a new coach and a new team, we knew we were a little bit more underdogs than we were in the past, but we still wanted to prove just as much to everyone that we could come out and make state,” added Emily Herbster.
CV had no state history until 2011, and now the Bears have advanced in two of three years. The future is bright, too, because CV is loaded with junior and sophomore hitters.
“From Day One, I knew our team had a ton of great individual players,” said junior Kazlyn Roullier, who had 19 kills against Richland and 13 against Chiawana. … “Once we learned to put it together and play as a team, I knew that we could make it.”
Mead trailed in every game but fought back. Kristina Volz had two key blocks during a 5-0 first-game run for a 19-18 lead. The Panthers fell behind 12-3 in the second game but put on a 14-2 burst guided by Brianna Evans’ two block and thunderous kills. Chiawana errors allowed Mead to score five straight points and take the lead for good in the third game.
“We just had to snap out of it and realize, it’s 1-1, it might as well be 0-0,” Renius said about the 12-3 third-game deficit. “We’re playing fresh. Let’s turn this around.”
In the middle match, Richland outscored CV 9-1 down the stretch in the first game to win 25-17. The Bombers led the third game 23-20 before Shelby Frank and Roullier sparked five straight points at the net.
CV rarely trailed against Chiawana, but Keann White came up with a crucial block and kill after the Riverhawks took a 21-20 edge in the third game.
“We feel like we have a lot of weapons, and if they’re all on at the same time we are going to be tough to be,” Bailey said. “I’m even pulling kids off the bench who are going in and getting kills. … I’m struggling with a lineup every time, wondering which hitters are going in.”
• 3A: University (20-7) and Shadle Park qualified for state in Lacey with 1-1 days at the 3A regional at Southridge High in Kennewick. Sydney Schlect had 17 kills as U-Hi lost to the host Suns 3-1 in the title match. The Titans earned the No. 2 seed to state, their first trip since 2004 and fourth overall. Schlect also had 12 kills and Kylie Collins 21 assists and three aces, as the Titans opened with a 3-1 win over Kamiakin. Amanda Konynenbelt and Rachel Stuart had 12 kills apiece as Shadle qualified for state with a 3-1 win over Kamiakin. The Highlanders opened with a 3-0 loss to Southridge. Six-time champion Shadle will make its 23rd appearance at state and first since 2008.
• 2A: Jordan Phelan had 17 kills and 15 digs, and Emily Sior added 40 assists as host East Valley edged Pullman 3-2 in the District 7 2A title match, qualifying for state for the first time since 1996. The Knights (16-8) will make their sixth trip to state. Fourth-seeded Colville earned the second state bid with a 3-0 win over Pullman (15-12) as Aubrey Buckner had 18 kills and Hannah Smith 22 assists. Colville, the 2011 champion, made state for the 16th time but the first for first-year coach Ron Schuh. The tourney is in Lakewood.
• 1A regional: Chelan topped host Cascade (Leavenworth) 3-1 in the title match for the top two seeds to the state tourney at Yakima’s SunDome. Freeman (23-6) defeated Lakeside 3-1 for the third and fourth seeds. Freeman advances for the 20th time, Lakeside for the 12th.
• 2B regional: Taylor Larsen finished with 14 kills, nine aces and 10 digs as Colfax (32-1) defeated Davenport 3-0 in the championship match at Chiawana High in Pasco, advancing the Bulldogs to state for the 21st consecutive season and 29th overall. Davenport (21-5) moves on as the second seed, qualifying for the 20th time. Asotin defeated Lind-Ritzville/Sprague to grab the No. 3 seed. Tri-Cities Prep made state for the first time by defeating Reardan. LRS earned the No. 5 seed with a 3-1 win over Reardan, as Mallory Kessler had 16 kills and Jenna Bennett five aces. State is at the SunDome.
• District 7 1B: Jessi and Kaelee Reed had 10 kills and 10 blocks apiece as Wilbur-Creston (17-6) defeated Odessa-Harrington 3-1 in the title match at Northwest Christian. Jordyn Tanke had 10 digs, three aces and three blocks for the Titans (17-8-1). Both teams advance to state at the SunDome, W-C for the 19th time and O-H for the 13th. Almira/Coulee-Hartline earned the third seed as Berlyn Hunt had 12 kills and four aces in a 3-1 win over Cusick.
• District 9 1B: Pomeroy toppled two-time defending state champion Tekoa-Oakesdale 3-2 in the title match at Clarkston to secure the No. 1 seed to state at the SunDome. T-O rebounded to earn the second seed, and its 19th state bid, with a 3-1 win over Colton.