In a league tournament where the top three seeds were separated by a point differential of just four, the path to the 4A SPSL championship would not be easy.
But through it all, Emerald Ridge found its way on top of the league by defeating Curtis 3-1 Saturday in the league tournament to claim the crown.
“It’s amazing [to win], our girls played really well,” said Emerald Ridge coach Bobby McGivern. “They were ready for today because the SPSL is just so tough.”
In the first set, the Jaguars (15-2, 7-1 SPSL) came out with a lot of energy and chatter on the court. They never allowed the Vikings (15-2, 7-1 SPSL) to tie or take the lead and Emerald Ridge won it 25-21.
Curtis came back in the second set. Behind the play of Kayla Skipworth, who found the open holes in the Jaguars’ defense. The Vikings won 25-19.
“It’s pretty exhausting on the court,” said Emerald Ridge senior Kava Durr. “You’re playing out there and sometimes you’re down but the team is up so you have to keep pushing.”
And for the Jaguars, that was the theme of the year thus far.
With the score tied in the third set, the Jaguar’s Elle Litterell had clutch serving down the stretch as well as of her 14 kills from the match.
Jadyn Mullen also came through in crucial moments as she had 11 digs and 42 assists, including the one to Durr that won the third set for the Jaguars 25-23.
“It’s really important to have good chemistry on the court,” Durr said. “Last year we had okay chemistry and that’s why I think we didn’t reach state.”
The fourth set looked like it was going to go the Vikings’ way. Curtis jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead, but the Jaguars kept clawing their way back to within a few points, tying it up at 20.
“A match like this always prepares us for what districts is going to be like, and districts is just as tough as state,” McGivern said. “They are used to playing at a high level.”
Once again, it was Litterell getting the key blocks and kills that would put the Jaguars ahead and not look back. They took the fourth set, 25-23.
The win gave the Jaguars the league title and the Vikings second place. Puyallup, the third team to have a 7-1 SPSL record, finished third by defeating Graham-Kapowsin, 3-1.
The Jaguars will pick up play again at noon on November 3 at Kentwood High School for the 4A District 3 tournament.