YAKIMA — Rankings are debatable. Results are not.
After being ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the season, but dropping to No. 3 last week, Tahoma High School lived up to the original billing by winning its first Class 4A state volleyball championship Saturday night, topping No. 2 Lake Stevens 21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 28-26 in the Yakima Valley SunDome.
“I think this solidified that we are as good as I think we knew we always were,” said Sara Russell, in her second season as co-coach of the program with Maria Bahlenhorst.
It was a battle between two teams in uncharted waters. Neither had been to the championship match. Chey Jones, Tahoma’s 6-foot-4 hammer, made sure the Bears (35-3) went home with the title, piling up 24 kills, 13 digs and three blocks.
“It feels so good,” Jones said. “All of this feels like a dream come true. It hasn’t even hit me completely yet that we just won state. It’s insane. This is what we’ve been working for months and months and we made it, and we deserve it so much.”
McKenne Peters keyed the defense with 38 digs, while Sydney Thompson chipped in seven blocks and three kills. Kennedy Kibby had a nice overall match with 22 assists, 13 digs and two aces.
It was a tough loss for Lake Stevens (28-3), especially after taking the opening set.
“Of course we are all super upset that we didn’t win, but I just know we gave it 100 percent,” said junior standout Samaya Morin, who delivered 17 kills, 31 digs and two aces. “We just wanted to make sure we gave it our all, so we didn’t have any regrets.”
Sophomore Tatum Smith chipped in 12 kills while junior setter Michelle Fast handed out 35 assists.
Tahoma got there with wins over Issaquah, No. 9 Puyallup and top-ranked Graham-Kapowsin, which had been the hottest team in the state after winning the West Central/Southweset bi-district tournament last weekend.
Lake Stevens had little trouble in the first two rounds with 3-0 wins over Camas and Curtis. Auburn Riverside presented a bigger challenge in the semis and took the opening set 27-25, but the Vikings won the next three.
Auburn Riverside (24-10, which won back-to-back titles in 2016-17 but went 0-2 here last season, wound up fourth after losing the consolation final to Graham-Kapowsin 3-1. G-K (20-6) took home a best-ever third-place trophy.
North Creek of Bothell, just a third-year school snared its first trophy, finishing fifth.
“I’m so proud of our girls,” North Creek coach Richard Abiador said.
Fourth for Roosevelt
Rosie Ogborn could think of a better way to close out her volleyball career — a state title would have been perfect. But the top trophy in Class 3A went once again to Mount Spokane.
After reaching the semifinals for the first time in school history, the Roughriders had to settle for fourth place.
But Ogborn, Roosevelt’s senior setter, saw the bigger picture.
“I’m really proud of us,” she said. “It’s the best our team has ever done, and I’m proud.”
So was coach Lamar Hurd.
“They deserve it,” he said. “They worked really hard for it.”
It was a heck of a run for a team that had snared only one previous state trophy (seventh last season). Before that, Roosevelt had gone 0-6 in three state appearances.
Seattle Prep (18-7) took home the fifth-place trophy. The Panthers eliminated Metro rival Eastside Catholic to move to the trophy round, 3-1. It was the fourth meeting of the season between the two teams and Eastside Catholic had won the previous two, most recently 3-0 at the Class 3A SeaKing District tournament.
The Crusaders came in ranked No. 3 in the state behind No. 1 Mount Spokane and No. 2 Capital of Olympia, but lost to Kelso in the opening round and wound up going 1-2 to finish the season 25-7. Lakeside, the fourth Metro qualifier, also went 1-2.