Just seconds after Emerald Ridge defeated Gig Harbor in the quarterfinals of the West Central District Class 4A volleyball tournament, their green-and-black clad fans stormed the court.
Some hugged. Some cried. And they all chanted, “Jags to state!”
“That’s a first,” said Emerald Ridge co-coach Bobby McGivern of the exuberant reaction to his team’s win. “It’s been an amazing ride.”
And a hard-fought one, too.
After committing some early gaffes to lose the first game, 22-25, the sophomore-laden Jaguars quickly regained their footing against the veteran Tides and took the next two, 25-16 and 25-22.
“This team continues to amaze me,” McGivern said. “No matter how many points they’re down, they just turn to each other and they have each other’s backs They find a way to fight and win.”
Led by sophomore outside hitter Jenna Mullen, the Jaguars trimmed the Tides’ lead in game four to 14-13 and then took the lead two plays later to gain some renewed confidence.
They never trailed again, and went on to a 25-21 win.
Emerald Ridge senior libero Leia Roy tallied 23 digs, while sophomore setter Isabella Zubrod added 39 assists, three blocks and five kills.
The Jaguars will face Camas today at noon. The Papermakers defeated defending state champion Olympia, 23-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 15-9, after rallying to win the final trio of games.
Bellarmine Prep also secured a spot in the semifinals with a 3-0 sweep of Kent-Meridian, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17. The Lions will face Union, which beat Auburn Riverside in four, 25-20, 25-12, 21-25, 25-23.
Consolation matches today will pit Rogers and Olympia, Curtis and Gig Harbor, Kentwood and Auburn Riverside and Puyallup and Kent-Meridian. The winners will play again for the WCD’s remaining four spots in the state tournament.