Curtis wins its first state volleyball title by beating Emerald Ridge in four sets, 25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 25-20, in the Class 4A tournament.
KENNEWICK — Curtis coach Michael Miller asked the Emerald Ridge team to take a group shot with his team after the 4A state match Saturday night at Toyota Center.
The Vikings had just beaten the Jaguars, 25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 25-20, to win the school’s first-ever state title, but in no way was Miller trying to rub it in.
“I have the highest respect for Bobby (McGivern),” Miller said of Emerald Ridge’s coach. “He is an amazing coach. Before the tournament, I saw we were in opposite sides of the bracket and I said, ‘I’ll see you in the finals.’ ”
It was a fitting ending for the two SPSL South schools who had battled all season long. The Vikings came out on top all four times — including Saturday night — but in no way did the Jaguars make it easy on them.
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“It’s always nice to get to the title dance,” said McGivern, whose team lost in the finals to Bellarmine Prep last year. “Two strong SPSL teams battling it out. This is pretty awesome after losing four seniors from last year’s team. We are young, and I’m excited for our future.”
The Vikings (29-1) looked to have things under control after winning the first two sets, but the Jaguars weren’t going down without a fight, picking up the win in the third set to extend the match.
Save for an 11-11 tie in the fourth set, the Vikings led from start to finish.
“This is awesome, awesome, amazing,” said Miller, whose team lost in the state finals to Bellarmine Prep in 2013. “The girls worked really hard for this.”
Elly McEachern led Curtis with 23 kills and 27 digs, while Haley Morton had 50 assists and Camryn Buell 12 kills and 29 digs.
The Tahoma Bears were all smiles Saturday after picking up the eighth-place trophy at the 4A state volleyball tournament at Toyota Center.
The Bears were on the losing end of a 19-25, 25-18, 25-15, 28-26 match to Central Valley, but with only three players returning from last year’s sixth-place team, coach Kelly Kim couldn’t have been more proud.
“They never rolled over and died,” Kim said. “They fought for every point. In our first game, we came out strong and were firing on all cylinders. When we changed sides in the second, the unforced errors killed us.”
Tahoma (25-11), which advanced to the placing match with a 3-1 win over Graham-Kapowsin, set the tone early in the first set and never trailed after taking a 4-3 lead. The Bears led by as many as seven points before closing out the set.
Reeling from their first loss of the year, the West Valley (Yakima) Rams regrouped to beat Battle Ground 22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 15-10 for third place.
“It was really important to win this one,” Rams coach Katie Hinkley said. “That was our first loss of the season (to Emerald Ridge in the semifinals) and we wanted to leave on a positive note. It shows the heart of this team.”
After suffering a quarterfinal loss to Curtis, the Mead Panthers worked their way back through to earn a trophy, going the distance to beat Bellarmine Prep 22-25, 33-31, 25-17, 13-25, 15-11 for fifth place.