Tumwater’s volleyball team knows what it’s like to be the bridesmaid instead of the bride.
This year, they simply weren’t going to tolerate not being invited to the wedding.
The Thunderbirds, who were runners-up in last year’s Class 2A state tournament, rallied for a 3-2 win (25-23, 26-28, 23-25, 25-18, 16-18) over Anacortes in Friday night’s quarterfinal at Pierce College in Lakewood.
Tumwater will play Colville in the semifinals at 12:30 p.m. today. The Indians swept Sequim, 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-17), on Friday night.
“That was the most intense thing I have ever been a part of,” said Tumwater senior setter Courtney Bowen, who tallied 53 assists. “But I didn’t think for one minute that we wouldn’t come back and win it.”
The Thunderbirds, who swept East Valley of Yakima, 3-0, in the opening round, controlled the first half of the first game, but the Seahawks came back to tie it at 19 and then hold the lead through the end of the game.
Tumwater got off to a fast 12-8 lead in the second game and kept Anacortes at bay despite a late run to narrow the score to 25-24. The momentum stayed through the third game.
After Anacortes capitalized in Tumwater’s mistakes in game four to tie the match 2-all, things got intense in the fifth game. Every time one team would score, the other would respond with its own crushing kill.
Thunderbirds coach Tana Otton said that her team has a specific goal in mind, “and this is one step toward that.”
“Right before we came out for the fifth game, they were relaxed and smiling,” she said. “You could see how excited they were to be going five games.”
Tumwater senior middle hitter Hannah Hanson had a team-high 22 kills, and senior offensive hitter Karlee Sampson contributed 21 kills and 14 digs.
Anacortes was led by senior offensive hitter Jessica Riddle, who had a game-high 27 kills, and junior setter Kiana Calles, who had 39 assists.
“We knew Tumwater was going to be tough,” said Seahawks coach Kelsey Swapp. “It was competitive volleyball – it could have gone either way.”
Swapp said she wasn’t surprised her team came back after being down 2-1.
“If they’re down, they never think they’re going to lose,” she said. “They fight and come back, and they wanted to win it.”
Defending state champion Burlington-Edison was knocked into the consolation bracket after being swept, 3-0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-21), by West Valley of Yakima, which won the 3A title last year.
“I don’t think we were able to match their offense,” said Tigers coach Tanya Brewer, whose team spent the majority of the match on defense. “We didn’t have our best night tonight.”
West Valley will face Selah in the semifinals. The Vikings knocked off Washington, 3-0 (25-9, 25-18, 25-15), in the quarterfinals.