KENNEWICK – Mead’s quest for an eighth state volleyball championship ran head-first into Curtis’ drive toward its first.
Second-ranked Curtis (27-1) swept the Panthers 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 Friday night to qualify for Saturday afternoon’s State 4A semifinals at Toyota Center. The Vikings will meet either Battle Ground or Monroe, who were playing a late match.
Curtis owns two runner-up finishes at state, including a loss in 2009 when the Panthers captured their seventh and most recent title.
Mead (27-3) will play the Battle Ground-Monroe loser at 11 a.m. Saturday in a loser-out match.
Sixth-ranked Mead opened the day with a sweep of Tahoma. The Panthers pulled away from an 11-all tie in the first game for a 25-20 win and outscored the Bears 7-4 to cap the 25-23 second-game win.
Central Valley’s shot at the 4A quarterfinals ended when the Bears, leading Emerald Ridge 2-1 in games and 7-1 in the fourth in their opener, couldn’t close the deal. The Jaguars (19-9) used a late 5-0 run to take control of the fourth game and broke from a 12-all tie to win the fifth 15-12.
The Bears (26-7) stayed alive by rallying for a 3-2 win over Inglemoor at night. CV dominated the final two games, 25-21 and 15-10, to eliminate the Vikings.
CV will meet Jackson at 11 a.m. Saturday in another loser-out.
University entered the State 4A with a tester, opening against top-ranked and undefeated West Valley (Yakima) while 6-foot senior middle blocker Daryn Griffith sat out. Griffith injured her ankle during practice this week.
The Titans gave the Rams (30-0) a challenge. U-Hi led the opener 20-17 before WV finished with an 8-1 burst. The Titans also led the second game 18-15, but the Rams closed with a 10-2 run.
The Titans (22-10) played a close night match against Jackson but were swept and eliminated. U-Hi tied the first game at 24 after trailing 18-10 and also rallied for a 20-all tie in the third game before fading.
Mt. Spokane had already fashioned a furious rally earlier in the day, but no amount of timeouts or cajoling from head coach David Whitehead could stop Kennedy in the evening quarterfinals.
Behind Shayne McPherson’s 17 kills and seven aces, the Lancers (27-2) swept Mt. Spokane 3-0 to advance to Saturday afternoon’s semifinals against defending champion Auburn Riverside (29-3).
Mt. Spokane (18-9) led the first game 11-9, the second 8-6 and the final 6-5 before the Lancers unleashed runs of 16-5, 9-1 and 11-1, respectively.
Mt. Spokane rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Bishop Blanchet (17-15) in its 8 a.m. opener, but the Lancers had more depth.
“We were trying to make adjustment, but they had too many strong hitters that it took us a while to adjust to,” Whitehead said. … “Their serving was tough and they’re a great team, with just two losses all year.”
In the Wildcats’ first match, they scored the final five points of the fourth game to win 25-18 and broke from a 10-all tie for a 15-11 win in the decider.
“We played like we had never been to state,” Whitehead said. “We did. But then we settled down and started to play our game and we just battled and battled and battled.”
Mt. Spokane will meet Holy Names (24-5) at 9 a.m. Saturday in a loser-out.
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