Federal Way – Power outages and controversy could not stop the Kentwood High School volleyball team from defeating Emerald Ridge on Saturday for the 4A South Puget Sound League championship at Todd Beamer High School.
Coming into the match, the second-ranked Jaguars were favored to win behind their standout junior Jenna Mullen. But it was Kentwood’s pair of Sarah Toeaina and Piper Crabtree that stood tall in the Conks’ 25-20, 25-27, 13-25, 25-23, 17-15, victory against the South champions Emerald Ridge.
“We didn’t play our best out there … it was an ugly win for us today,” Kentwood coach Bil Caillier said. “But an ugly win is better than a beautiful loss.”
The win gives Kentwood, the North champion, the No. 1 seed out of the SPSL heading into the West Central District III playoffs while Emerald Ridge takes the No. 2 seed.
Kentwood jumped to an 8-1 lead in the fifth set before Mullen – who finished with 30 kills and 20 digs – led an Emerald Ridge comeback to tie the set at 15-all when she found a crease between two Conquerors defenders to hammer home a kill.
Crabtree then tried to encourage her teammates.
“I just told our team to stay with it, the game’s not over yet,” Crabtree said. “I told them we could finish this. … I believe in them.”
Toeaina responded by smacking home a kill off a return volley from Emerald Ridge.
The officials originally called the play dead because a line judge ruled the ball hit the post, rewarding Emerald Ridge the point. But after they got together, the call was reversed and a point was rewarded to Kentwood giving them a 16-15 lead.
Crabtree landed a service ace the following play to seal the Conks’ victory.
During the third set, heavy rain and wind caused the power to go out in the gym after Mullen recorded a kill. The five-minute delay gave new life to Kentwood.
“We kind of sucked the power from the building into us,” Toeaina said jokingly about the incident. “We went downhill a little bit, but then we brought it at the end. I’m real proud of our team for that.”
Toeaina had 17 kills, and teammate Lauren Hackett led the Conks’ with 19 kills. Crabtree tied with the Jags’ Isabella Zubrod with a game-high 45 assists.
Curtis 3, Auburn Riverside 1: The Vikings defeated the Ravens, 25-17, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24, to take the SPSL No. 3 seed heading to the West Central District III playoffs.
Throughout the match, Curtis had a solid attack plan – set up big hitters Janell Sparks (23 kills) and Jessica Woodruff (14 kills) and let them do the work. That plan went off without a hitch, but don’t tell that to coach Michael Miller.
“We left a lot of points out there today,” he said. “We did just enough to win … we’ll need to be cleaner going forward.”
Auburn Riverside takes the No. 4 seed heading into district.