Coming into their match with Cascade Christian High School on Monday night, Charles Wright Academy wasn’t going to settle for anything less than clinching the Nisqually League volleyball title inside the Cougars’ gym.
The Tarriers accomplished their mission with a 3-1 win (22-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-20), securing the 1A Nisqually championship behind standouts Abbie Jackson and Kaylee Kim.
“It feels great — I feel we did really well leading up to this game,” Jackson said.
Interjected Kim: “There was a lot of anticipation going into the game.”
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How could there not.
Charles Wright (12-0 overall, 6-0 1A Nisqually) came in undefeated with only a one-game lead over second-place Cascade Christian (8-3, 4-2).
“I don’t know how else to put it, but (we) just really, really wanted it tonight,” Kim said.
The first set went to the Cougars after they doubled up on Jackson, and forced Charles Wright into more than a few errors. But that was all the Tarriers would tolerate as Jackson and Kim took over the game.
In that first set, Jackson (12 digs, five aces) had just two kills but finished with a game-high 23 kills after going a tear in the final three sets.
“It feels great,” Charles Wright coach Mindy McGrath said. “Cascade (Christian) is just an awesome team to play — they are always fun, they’re always tough, they’re always strong. So it’s fun to be able to beat and play at their level.”
If it wasn’t Jackson killing any Cougar momentum, it was Kim lacing one ace after another — the Tarriers’ captain finished with a team-high seven aces.
Now with a league title in hand and the playoffs on the horizon, Charles Wright is hopeful it will help carry them forward in the coming weeks.
“I’m so stoked for the playoffs,” Jackson said.
Cascade Christian star Dani Tang came into this game wanting to keep her team’s league title hopes alive after losing to the Tarriers just last week.
And whenever the Tarriers would take leads or go on runs, the Cougars kept climbing back behind Tang (16 kills, 19 digs) as the senior captain wasn’t going to go out without a fight.
“We tried our hardest and that’s all we could do as a team,” Tang said while holding back tears. “They gave it their all and that’s all you can ask of anyone.”
But after that first-set win, the Cougars fell behind too often, forcing them to play catch-up.
“Starting out slow has been a problem for us all year,” said Jane Cooksley who finished with seven aces. “We weren’t able to overcome our slow starts tonight.”
Auburn Riverside 3, Auburn Mountainview 1: The Ravens all but clinched their second consecutive 3A South Puget Sound League title with their second victory over Auburn Mountainview this season.
Kiana Drumheller had 19 kills and 11 digs for Auburn Riverside (11-0), which has won all 33 of its matches since moving down to the 3A SPSL before the start of last season — when it went 22-0 on its way to the 3A state title.
The Ravens move two games ahead of second-place Auburn Mountainview (10-2; 9-2 3A SPSL) in the league standings with three games to play.
Lauren Smith had 42 aces for Auburn Riverside, Calley Heilborn had 11 kills and 10 digs and Kasey Holland had 12 kills, two blocks and 11 digs.