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Coeur d’Alene falls to Idaho Falls in 5A state championship final

Victor Flores Special To The Spokesman-Review

IDAHO FALLS – The magical season for the Coeur d’Alene High School volleyball team came to a disappointing end on Saturday.

The young Vikings (21-5) simply couldn’t overcome Idaho Falls (33-9) at Skyline High School on Saturday. Coeur d’Alene got swept by Idaho Falls 20-25, 19-25, 23-25 in their first match and lost in four sets 15-25, 24-26, 25-22, 15-25 in the State 5A championship game.

“Our goal was just to continue to improve throughout the season,” Vikings coach Dee Pottenger said. “But (my players) are competitive. They’re athletes. They wanted to win.”

Simply going to the state tournament made Coeur d’Alene’s season a success. The team hadn’t been to state since 2008, and it doesn’t carry a single senior on its roster.

After beating Centennial on Friday, the Vikings’ only goal was to win the state championship.

Coeur d’Alene quickly found itself in a hole during its first match against Idaho Falls. The Tigers raced out to an 18-2 lead in the first set. The Vikings made a furious comeback but fell five points short.

The final two sets were much tighter, but Idaho Falls finished strong to complete the sweep.

The loss sent sent Coeur d’Alene to a match against Vallivue. The winner would advance to the title game.

The Vikings cruised to a 25-16, 17-25, 25-20, 25-17 victory over the Falcons.

Pottenger said her team didn’t make any major changes in preparation for the second match against Idaho Falls.

“It really was, just bring your best in and see who’s going to come out on top,” Pottenger said.

After a dominant first set, Idaho Falls took a 20-13 lead in the second. But Coeur d’Alene roared back to take a 24-22 lead. All the Vikings needed was one point, but they couldn’t obtain it. The Tigers scored four straight to take the second set.

Coeur d’Alene stayed alive with a third set victory, but the fourth set went like the first one. On the final serve, Coeur d’Alene tried staving off defeat with a powerful return. But the shot sailed long, sealing the title for the Tigers.

“It’s not a team we gave the win to,” Pottenger said of Idaho Falls. “They earned it.”

Pottenger and her players, including University of Idaho commit Megan Ramseyer, will return next season confident and hungry to reverse the outcome of Saturday’s state championship game.

“It’s disappointing to not win it,” Pottenger said, “but we are excited about the future.”

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