2A: For Burlington-Edison, 2 out of 3 pretty good

Contributing writerNovember 17, 2013 

lakewood — After narrowly missing out on a chance at back-to-back state titles in 2012, the Burlington-Edison Tigers roared into the Class 2A volleyball championship match on Saturday night looking for redemption.

They found it, shutting out Capital, 25-18, 25-23, 25-17, at Pierce College for a second title in three years. In 2011, the Tigers bested Tumwater in the championship match.

“This team is really rags to riches,” coach Tawnya Brewer said. “In 2011, the expectations from the beginning were to win the state championship. With this team, it took an entire year to believe that was a possibility.”

It was Capital’s first appearance in the state title game since coach Natalie Rhodes played there in 1994.

Rhodes said her players became frustrated when they were unable to tally points. Earlier in the day, Capital beat Sehome, 21-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-13.

“Burlington-Edison was so scrappy on defense that it didn’t seem like we could get a shot down,” she said. “We knew it was going to be tough, and we fought hard, and I’m just proud that we made it this far.”

Junior libero Marissa Ottesen said that the Cougars especially wanted to win it for Rhodes.

“It was really hard to end that way,” said Ottesen, who had 20 digs. “I wish we could have fought harder and shown how much we wanted it.”

Burlington-Edison sophomore libero Alana Handy had 28 digs, and junior setter Sam Alumbres had 38 assists. For Capital, junior Rachel Erickson tallied 23 digs and seven kills, and junior Sam Yorke added 19 assists and seven digs.

The road to the title truly began in 2012, as the Tigers adjusted to losing five seniors off the championship team and finished third at state.

“I think last year, we were kind of a work in progress,” Brewer said. “For this team to make the improvements it did is truly amazing.

“They came together like 2011 did, though. I started to see a lot of similarities toward the end.”

Earlier in the day, Burlington-Edison beat defending state champion West Valley of Yakima, 25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23.

Senior Maggie McTaggart said that last season taught the Tigers how to bounce back.

“I think we improved a lot in all aspects after last year,” said McTaggart, who had a match-high 30 kills and four digs. “(This) is incredible. We’ve worked so hard to get here, and I feel like it paid off.”

A year after winning the state title in its first appearance at the 2A level, West Valley finished third with a 3-1 victory over Sehome (25-21, 25-13, 17-25, 25-15).

Coach Katie Hinckley said she was pleased with the Rams’ performance after graduating seven seniors off last year’s team.

“I’m very proud of them,” said Hinckley, whose team also won the 3A state championship in 2011. “To have a young team come out here and make a statement is huge.”

North Kitsap finished fifth after a 27-25, 25-21, 15-25, 17-25, 15-12 win over Tumwater. The sixth-place Thunderbirds played West Valley in the 2012 title game.

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