Whether they were whizzing over the net at warp speed or dropping in with precision placement, Bellarmine Prep junior outside hitter Courtney Schwan’s shots were finding their spots.
And that was bad news for the Gig Harbor Tides.
Schwan racked up 16 kills on a variety of shots and the rest of the Bellarmine roster passed and served at a high level as the Lions swept the Tides, 25-21, 25-17, 25-20, on Saturday afternoon at the 4A Narrows League tournament at Mount Tahoma High School.
The win wrapped up the league’s No. 1 seed heading into next week’s West Central District tournament. Gig Harbor (10-3) will go in as the No. 2 seed.
“I thought our passing was good today,” said Bellarmine coach Jody DeGroot, who was named the Narrows League coach of the year. “We executed a lot of sideouts on serve receive and I asked the girls to serve as tough as they could, and I think they made some good choices on their serving. And of course I’m excited about some of the blocks we got.”
Schwan, a University of Washington recruit who was named the Narrows League’s most valuable player this season, closed out games two and three of the match with kills.
“I like to mix it up,” said Schwan of her varied shot selection. “That way they don’t know what to do when I’m hitting. It keeps them guessing.”
Despite winning the district tournament last season, Bellarmine (13-0) lost to Olympia in the Narrows League championship game.
“Seven of these girls are returning from last year and they remember that,” DeGroot said of the loss. “We didn’t like how that felt. So we wanted to take care of business here today and not have that same situation occur.”
NORTH THURSTON TAKES 3A TOP SEED
After losing both meetings with Timberline during the regular season, North Thurston finally broke through.
The Rams toppled the previously undefeated Blazers, 21-25, 28-26, 20-25, 25-21, 15-10, to wrap up the 3A Narrows League’s No. 1 seed. Senior Brittany Rutherford, a 3A Narrows League first-team selection, led the Rams with 28 kills. Timberline (12-1) will be the No. 2 seed.
“We talked about how great moments are born from great opportunities,” North Thurston coach Micah McCride said. “We had an opportunity to have a great moment tonight, and that’s what we did.”
North Thurston (11-2) bounced back after losing the first game, getting a kill from outside hitter Katie Sisson to put the close game away. After Timberline rebounded to take game three, the Rams had to dig deep. After winning game four, senior Jessica Malchow found a vacant center-floor spot for the match-winner in game five.
Emerald Ridge started the day with a loss, but they ended it with a big win over Auburn Riverside at the South Puget Sound League tournament.
After losing their first set, 24-26, to the undefeated Ravens, the Jaguars responded with three wins in a row to claim the SPSL title.
Co-coach Bobby McGivern credited a change in the offense for the turn-around.
“In the first set, we really struggled with our serve receive,” McGivern said. “In the second set, we mixed it up on who we were setting to, and we got quite a bit of work from our middles.”
The Jaguars were led by sophomore Jenna Mullen (23 kills, 11 digs) and Leia Roy (33 digs).