Zubrod's decisive dig nets Emerald Ridge SPSL 4A South Division title

todd.milles@thenewstribune.comOctober 30, 2013 

It was the volleyball dig felt all over University Place.

The South Puget Sound League 4A South Division title was on the line Tuesday night, and second-ranked Emerald Ridge and No. 9 Curtis played it out like it meant everything.

But some things seemingly are meant to go one direction — like Isabella Zubrod’s incredible dig for a point in front of the net in the decisive second set, leading the Jaguars to a 25-20, 32-30, 21-15, 25-17 victory over host Curtis.

Emerald Ridge (13-1, 8-0 SPSL South) repeated as divisional champion, and will meet SPSL North winner Kentwood for the league title at Todd Beamer High on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The hitting firepower on display Tuesday was dynamic, ranging from the Jaguars’ reigning SPSL South player of the year Jenna Mullen (20 kills), to the Vikings’ duo of Janell Sparks (25 kills) and Jessica Woodruff (24 kills).

But in a tight second set, it came down to a heady play of Zubrod, the Emerald Ridge setter.

The Vikings led 25-24 and looked to secure the set-winning point on a ball that was dropping fast on the Jaguars’ side of the net.

Zubrod sprawled to the middle of the floor, and got just enough of her hands on the ball to send it airborne.

“My only thought process,” Zubrod said, “was that I needed to get to that.”

And the ball floated toward the net. It easily could have hit it and retreated toward Zubrod. Instead, the ball barely cleared, and landed on a spot on the left side of the floor where no Curtis player stood.

It tied up the set, 25-25.

“She is most improved,” Emerald Ridge co-coach Bobby McGivern said. “She came in with the mentality to be tough ... in times of crisis.”

Added Curtis coach Michael Miller: “That was huge. That was a difference maker. You think you have the point, and it is taken away from you.”

Four times the Vikings (9-4, 6-2) had set point. And all four times, the Jaguars tied it.

Curtis was done in by two critical into-the-net violations — the last one giving Emerald Ridge a 31-30 lead — and the Jaguars won the second set on a Woodruff kill error.

Woodruff had seven of her kills in the third set — four of them coming in a stretch in which the Vikings scored eight consecutive points — as Curtis won, 25-21.

But after the fourth set was tied at 15-15, the Jaguars had too much balance down the stretch. Tristyn Smith had three kills as Emerald Ridge won 10 of the final 12 points to clinch the match.

“Incredible,” McGivern said. “Both teams wanted it. It was so back and forth.”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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