If the rest of the state is intent on dethroning two-time defending Class 4A volleyball champion Bellarmine Prep, cover your ears.
The second-ranked Lions are finally finding their footing heading down the final weeks of the regular season.
Bellarmine Prep handled Olympia with ease — 25-8, 25-13, 25-10 — Tuesday in a 4A Narrows showdown in Tacoma.
If the Lions (11-0, 9-0) win Thursday at Timberline, they will all but wrap up their fourth consecutive league title.
Never miss a local story.
And they will take a streak of 30 consecutive set victories into that match with the Blazers.
“When you look … at the system we ran last year and what we are doing this year, the girls had to see it,” Bellarmine Prep coach Jody DeGroot said. “And one of the things we needed to do was finding the right combinations and the right fits, and piecing it all together.”
They struggled until the end of September to find the most efficient lineup, especially after losing state player of the year Courtney Schwan, who graduated and is now at the University of Washington.
This team attacks with more balance, led by outside hitter Reghan Pukis, who had a match-high 13 kills Tuesday.
The Lions are also getting offense out of their two middle hitters in Claire Martin and Megan Jacobson, and now are really seeing big contributions from emerging ninth-grader Hannah Pukis on the right side.
Olympia coach Laurie Creighton wanted to see her team not give away as many free points as it did in the first match against the Lions last month. That did not happen — they committed 26 errors.
“They are a very efficient team with far more experience than us,” Creighton said.
Bellarmine Prep did not commit its first kill error until the second set — a span of 48 points.
Olympia (6-4, 5-3), the 2011 Class 4A champion, is still solidly in the playoff hunt.