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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State volleyball preview: Mt. Spokane aims to remain in trophy conversation at 3A tournament

Mt. Spokane outside hitter Jordyn Williams goes up for a kill against Mead during the District 8 3A championship match on Nov. 9 at Mead High School.  (Madison McCord/For The Spokesman-Review)

Every team takes its lumps each year with the loss of graduating seniors. But few teams were hit harder coming into this season than Mt. Spokane volleyball.

The Wildcats not only lost the services of Greater Spokane League Most Valuable Player Lani Ama, but also were without first-team outside hitter Maggie Degenhart and second-team libero Willow Almquist.

But good teams find a way to reload, and the Wildcats have proven just that this season en route to a second-place district finish and the No. 10 seed in this weekend’s State 3A tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome .

“We are very young, but we have a lot of different players that can step up and play well at different times,” Mt. Spokane coach Laurie Quigley said. “A lot of what we have talked about this season is how different people can contribute and how we know that we have to look at this year the same as every year.”

That bar has been set high in recent years by the Wildcats. Following a seven-year absence from the state tournament, Mt. Spokane claimed the 3A title in 2019. The Wildcats have followed that up with fifth- and fourth-place finishes the past two tournaments respectively.

“What we always say is that you get what you earn in the postseason,” Quigley said. “We earned the spot to be there at state and our team has played really good volleyball as the season went on.”

The Wildcats are also anxious to get back on the court after their last outing – a sweep by rival Mead in the district championship match.

“We can showcase a lot more of our talent than we did tonight,” Mt. Spokane outside hitter Jordyn Williams said after the Nov. 9 loss. “We didn’t prepare for this game as well as we should have and that’s fully on us. But this only pushes us to be better at state and hopefully, we can see them again in the finals.”

If there is a third meeting this year between Mead and Mt. Spokane, it would happen before the finals. After an unbeaten run through the GSL season and district tournament, Mead earned the No. 3 seed at state – placing the rivals in the same half of the bracket and setting up a potential semifinal showdown.

Before either can think about a rematch, though, they have to get through their opening matches on Friday.

Mt. Spokane will face seventh-seeded Liberty (Issaquah) in its first match at 1:30 p.m.

Mead will face the winner of the morning’s loser-out match between No. 19 seed Peninsula and No. 14 seed Meadowdale at 11:45 a.m.

“We are going into this tournament and people don’t know us anymore,” Williams said. “I know people think that because of who we lost we won’t be as good, but that’s a huge motivation for us because we want to prove we still belong at the highest level.”

The 3A championship game is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

• Gonzaga Prep lone GSL team in 4A tournament: After topping Lewis and Clark 3-1 in a loser-out, winner-to-state showdown in the district tournament, Gonzaga Prep earned the No. 7 seed to the State 4A tournament in the Yakima Valley SunDome, which also begins Friday.

The Bullpups open against No. 10 seed Lake Stevens at 9:45 a.m.

An opening-round victory could set up a meeting with second-seeded Camas in the next round. Top-seeded Olympia is on the other half of the bracket from G-Prep.

District 8 champ Kamiakin, which defeated the Bullpups in the district title match, earned the fifth seed.

The 4A championship match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday