KENNEWICK – It seemed appropriate that Mead and Central Valley would finish their volleyball seasons Saturday playing on side-by-side courts.
Both went out in style, too, as Mead (29-3) held off Bellarmine Prep 3-2 to take fifth place and CV (28-7) toppled Tahoma 3-1 for seventh place as the State 4A tournament wrapped up at Toyota Center.
Mead’s Shawn Wilson and CV’s Laurie Quigley were first-year coaches taking over solid programs. They battled each other all season in five-set matches, with CV getting the best of Mead for the Greater Spokane League title and the Panthers turning the tables at the District 8 4A and 4A regional championships.
Both teams finished 3-1 at state, and both lost to teams that ultimately advanced to the title match – Emerald Ridge for CV and Curtis for Mead. Curtis defeated Emerald Ridge 3-1 for the championship.
“I know that Mead has a lot of tradition in volleyball,” Wilson said. “I was lucky enough to have a really young team that’s also really talented, so for me it’s awesome to come in as a coach like that. I feel really blessed.”
Mead had three seniors on its roster, including University of San Diego-bound Payton Douglass, who totaled 58 digs during the final-match marathon against Bellarmine Prep (29-5), the champion in the previous three tournaments.
“The highlight was coming back from last year, when we didn’t really make it too far, and living up to the legacy that Mead has as a volleyball team,” Douglass said.
Sweeter still for Douglass was turning the tables on Bellarmine Prep, which defeated Mead 3-2 for the state title in 2012, her freshman season.
The Panthers did so by nerving out a 33-31 second-game win and roaring back in the 15-11 fifth game after the Lions won the fourth 25-13.
CV also worked extra time to defeat Tahoma 28-26 in the clinching fourth game. The Bears also trailed the crucial third game 7-2 but uncorked a 15-3 run and cruised home 25-15.
Unlike Mead, the Bears were stocked with seniors.
“Having 10 seniors was somewhat daunting, I think, for other people when I talked to them, but the girls just embraced it,” Quigley said. “They worked super hard and I’m so happy for them.”
CV’s best previous state finish was eighth, last year.
“Our whole team shoots for the stars, so we thought it was possible to win state if we put our minds to it, but I think we’re still happy with what we got,” said senior Keann White, who had 11 kills and four blocks. “Even though it’s only one place higher, it’s still making history at CV.”
Mt. Spokane appeared well on the way to forcing a deciding game against Holy Names in the morning loser-out match, but the Wildcats faltered after leading the fourth game 19-14.
The Cougars (26-5) outscored Mt. Spokane 11-1 down the stretch and moved on to defeat Lakeside of Seattle for fifth place.
“I thought we were going to go five (games), but we got in a rotation that we struggled to get out of a little bit,” Wildcats coach David Whitehead said.
Mt. Spokane will graduate seven seniors, including Bailey Ricard, who had 16 kills, and Kelly Brown, who added 29 assists. Sophomore Miahna Waters added 26 digs and 11 kills.
“We set a high standard for our underclassmen,” Whitehead said. “Our seniors are saying, ‘Take it one step further.’ We’re losing a great class of seniors, but we’re going to be back. That’s our goal, every year, to get back here and do the best we can.”
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