YAKIMA — For the first time since 2017, the Class 3A state volleyball championship trophy will reside in a Western Washington trophy case after Lakeside’s dominating 25-17, 25-13, 25-10 win over defending champion Mead at the Yakima Valley SunDome on Friday night.
The title is Lakeside’s second in three Class 3A title match appearances. The Lions won the title in 2016 and were second in 2018.
“This is an incredible group; they deserve this and they deserve to be the team that brings that trophy back West,” said Lakeside coach Jeff Kim, who took over the program after the 2016 title and evened his title-match record with the win. “I’m really proud of all the work these young ladies put in and the results they got tonight.”
Lakeside (25-0), which was No. 1 in the state coaches poll, advanced to the title match by beating Mount Spokane — the 2018 and 2019 winner — 25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21. Bishop Blanchet was beaten in the semifinals by Mead of Spokane 25-19, 19-25, 26-24 and 25-20. The Bears beat Mount Spokane in the third/fourth-place match 17-25, 27-25, 26-24, 25-22.
Lakeside’s win was methodical and featured equal doses of strong net play and gritty defense.
The first game turned on a spectacular dig by Victoria Gao that turned into a point for the Lions. Lakeside rattled off four straight points to take a 19-12 lead. After Mead (18-2) answered with four straight of its own, Sophie Broesamle rocketed in a kill from the left side of the net, moved to the service line and connected for four straight points and a 24-16 Lion lead.
Gao said she wasn’t surprised by the rare dig point only because so much time is spent on defense in practice.
“As a libero, your job is to dig everything you can,” a smiling Gao said while her teammates whooped it up and posed with the championship trophy. “Even though this was the final, we did everything with the same mentality we have every day.”
Gao was a huge factor for Lakeside. The sophomore libero seemed to consistently be in the right place, keeping the ball in play and giving the Lions’ front line a chance to counterattack.
“She’s incredible,” Kim said of his defensive spark plug. “She doesn’t want any ball to drop. She’s going to dive and sacrifice her body to make sure the ball doesn’t fall.”
The second game was dominated at the net by Lakeside. Freshman Lauryn Coleman had two key blocks, and senior Yazzy Muhammad had four kills. Coleman slammed the ball into a vacant spot in the center of the Panther defense to give the Lions a 22-12 lead. That was in the middle of a nifty service run by Becca DePencier Piñero that included an ace and set up the Lions with a 23-12 lead. Two blocking errors by Mead enabled Lakeside to closed out the game.
The Lions closed out the match with a series of runs in Game 3. Emily Dean reeled off five straight points from the serve line and Broesamle followed that with three more to give Lakeside a 13-4 lead. Brooke Caldwell had a four serve run and Muhammad had two booming kills late as Lakeside ran off seven of the last nine points.
Peninsula took home the fifth-place place trophy, beating Bellevue 25-18, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25 and 15-12.
Kelso beat Lake Washington in the seventh/eigth-place match, 31-33, 25-20, 25-19 and 25-18.