The proud St. Maries volleyball program broke through Saturday after a 16-year state title drought.
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By Greg Lee
Some wondered if St. Maries would win another state volleyball championship.
It’s not that the cupboard has been bare. But it has been 16 years since the Lumberjacks hung a banner in their gym.
The drought is over. The Lumberjacks broke through for the first time since 1993, sweeping Kimberly 25-21, 25-19, 26-24 in a hard-fought 3A state final at Coeur d’Alene High School’s Elmer Jordan Court before a crowd estimated at 750.
Second-year coach Missy Asbury started on three state title teams during St. Maries’ storied 10-year string of championships. After the Lumberjacks finished runner-up last year, she told her team that it had the ingredients to capture a title.
“I brought my state medals to practice and showed them,” Asbury said. “I would wear my T-shirt that had JV (junior varsity) 67-0. I told them they had what it took to win. I preached to the girls that I knew what it was like to be there. So this is a great accomplishment.”
The Lumberjacks bought into their coach’s belief. What very well may have put them over the top was a second-round win over recent state power Sugar-Salem on Friday.
St. Maries didn’t miss a beat Saturday, posting a 3-0 win over Fruitland before sweeping Kimberly.
In the final, St. Maries rode the arms of sophomore Marlee Masterson and senior Bree Arrhenius. Masterson had a match-high 22 kills and Arrhenius had 11 to go with 12 digs and three aces.
Arrhenius started on the last two teams that finished as state runner-up.
“This is very special. We had one goal and we went out and did it,” Arrhenius said.
She said she’s quite aware of St. Maries’ rich state tradition. In fact, at least two of the starters (both freshmen) weren’t even born the last time the Lumberjacks won a state title.
“To be the team that won again is the best feeling in the world,” Arrhenius said.
With two freshmen and two sophomores in St. Maries’ starting lineup, it appears the Lumberjacks may be poised to start another state-title run.
“We really, really worked hard this year,” Asbury said. “We had a list of goals and we kept making check marks next to them. This was our last one.”
The Bulldogs fell to eventual state champ and nemesis Bonneville in a five-game set and then got swept by Century – 25-23, 25-23, 27-25.
“After our match with Bonneville, we just couldn’t refocus is what it felt like,” Sandpoint coach Karen Alsager said. “We couldn’t get our game on. We couldn’t block their attack.”
In the third game, Sandpoint senior setter Koko James, who has
given an oral commitment to the
“(Finishing third) is a hard pill to swallow, especially for these seniors,” Alsager said. “It’s not the way we anticipated it ending at all.”
Borah rallied for a 22-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 15-13 decision.
The Wampus Cats fell to