The No. 2 Ravens beat No. 4 Bellarmine Prep in a district tournament that featured seven of the top 10 Class 4A teams in the state.
It was only a district title match for the Bellarmine Prep and Auburn Riverside volleyball teams Saturday night.
But it felt a little bigger.
In the end, the No. 2 Ravens defeated No. 4 Bellarmine Prep 3-2 in a back-and-forth battle to clinch the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district title in a contest Auburn Riverside coach Chris Leverenz said “felt like it was a state championship.”
“It did. It was intense,” Leverenz said. “That was some good volleyball back-and-forth (in) game five. You just really didn’t know. Sometimes I get into a match and I feel, ‘OK, I’m comfortable.’ I never got comfortable in that match.”
Most Read Sports Stories
- Were boos directed at Russell Wilson a sign of things to come in his Seattle return?
- 'One of the best games I've ever seen': Mariners down Yankees 1-0 in 13 innings
- Marshawn Lynch arrested on suspicion of DUI in Las Vegas
- Former WSU football coach Nick Rolovich seeking $25 million for wrongful termination
- How Pac-12 benefits from ESPN getting shut out of Big Ten media deal
Auburn Riverside got off to a sluggish start, dropping the first set 25-17. Leverenz fired up her team during the break, and watched as the Ravens won back-to-back games 25-23 and 25-21 to take a 2-1 lead.
Bellarmine Prep took set four 25-19 to force a decisive game five. Led by senior Calley Heilborn, who had six kills in the fifth set, Auburn Riverside came out on top 15-13 to clinch the victory.
“I think Calley kind of figured it out. She does that sometimes,” Leverenz said with a smile. “She lays back until she realizes nobody else is going to do it and then she steps up. It’s the Heilborn way. … She was just on fire.”
Heilborn was on an Auburn Riverside team two years ago that won a Class 3A state championship.
The Class 4A state champion that year? Bellarmine Prep.
“It’s good, high-school volleyball,” said Caroline Meines, the Bellarmine Prep coach. “It’s fun to see a team stay poised. … Getting second is never fun, but they’re fortunate to be able to (get to) go and win the one they really want next weekend.”
After already playing three matches in two days at Kentwood High School, Auburn Riverside clinched the district title in a tournament that featured seven of the top 10 teams in the Washington State Coaches Association rankings, with eight squads in the 16-team field advancing to next weekend’s state tournament.
In the third-place match, No. 7 Kentwood held off a furious rally by No. 6 Puyallup to defeat the Vikings in five sets after winning the first two. Sophomore Haylee Kent had 19 kills and senior libero Aleina Gabriel tallied 31 digs in the Conquerors’ victory. Senior Jordan Hunter had 14 kills for Puyallup.
Along with Kentwood, Curtis and Tahoma won seeding games to clinch the Nos. 5 and 6 seeds from District 3/4, respectively. Auburn Mountainview (No. 7) and Curtis (No. 8) also secured spots in next weekend’s state tournament in Kennewick.