The Coeur d’Alene Vikings’ first day at the 5A state volleyball tournament had some parallels to their season.
Coeur d’Alene started slow but got better with each match. The Vikings bounced back from an opening loss to Bonneville to defeat Eagle and Vallivue at Post Falls High School.
“It was kind of like our season,” said Vikings coach Dee Pottenger, whose team lost standout senior Megan Ramseyer to a knee injury three matches into the regular season but still rolled to a regional championship. “It didn’t really start the way we expected but I was pleased with the improvement and I’m proud of the girls.”
The Vikings (26-6) face Centennial (16-6) in a loser-out match at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Defending champion Idaho Falls and Bonneville were the only teams to go 2-0. The Tigers (36-6) defeated Centennial 3-1 and swept Vallivue. Bonneville (27-12) followed its 26-24, 26-24, 25-20 win against Coeur d’Alene with a five-set victory over Timberline.
Idaho Falls and Bonneville meet at 11 a.m.
Bonneville defeats CdA
Coeur d’Alene held leads of last six points in each set, including 23-16 in the second. The Vikings had one set point in the opening set and four more in the second but couldn’t put the Bees away.
Halle Hess’ kill tied the first set at 24 and Idaho State-bound outside hitter Haylie Keck closed it out with a kill and a block.
The Vikings’ frustration level grew deeper in the second set. They led 23-16 after an Ali Williams’ kill, but Bonneville countered with four straight points, two on Viking hitting errors. Sydney Bybee’s kill put CdA on top 24-20 but two Coeur d’Alene hitting miscues and a net violation helped the Bees tie it at 24. Consecutive aces by Hess sealed a 26-24 win.
The Vikings again grabbed a 9-3 lead in the third set but the Bees pulled even at 15 and pulled away late on two of Keck’s 19 kills and setter Kiley McMurtrey’s well-placed tip.
“It’s disappointing,” Pottenger said following the match. “They need to settle down and hopefully we’ll play better.”
CdA defeats Eagle
The Vikings recovered from a rough start to eliminate the Mustangs (16-4) 20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-22. After dropping the first set, Coeur d’Alene was in control 23-17 in the second before Eagle closed within 24-22. Huddleston’s tip landed to clinch the set.
The Vikings trailed 20-13 in the third but freshman middle blocker Kelly Horning had three of her seven kills and a block to fuel CdA’s comeback.
“She picked up her play a couple levels in that match,” Pottenger said.
The Vikings scored seven straight points – perhaps the biggest was setter Isabella Hollibaugh’s nifty tip on a tough angle – to knot it at 19 in the third set. Coeur d’Alene scored the last five points after trailing 22-20.
CdA defeats Vallivue
The Vikings played their best volleyball of the day, rolling to a 25-19, 25-13, 26-24 victory. Coeur d’Alene dominated at the net behind Huddleston’s four blocks and three each by Bybee and Horning.
“I was really pleased with our blocking (all day),” Pottenger said.
Williams and Huddleston combined for 18 kills. Hollibaugh added 18 assists.
The third set was tight throughout. Vallivue led 23-21 but the Vikings pulled it out with kills by Horning, Huddleston and Williams.
Coeur d’Alene is one of four teams still in contention.
“It’s who wants it more,” Pottenger said. “If we want to end this tournament successfully, then we need to compete.”
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