This weekend was historic for the Tacoma Baptist High School volleyball team.
After advancing to the state playoffs for just the third time in program history, the Crusaders earned their first-ever state tournament win on Thursday, and followed that up with another win Friday to secure their first Class 1B state trophy.
Tacoma Baptist lost its opener at the Yakima Valley SunDome to eventual state runner-up Almira-Coulee-Hartline in straight sets Thursday.
But, the Crusaders rallied to win two matches to ensure they’d return to Tacoma with some hardware.
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“This is the only third time that our school has gone to state for volleyball, so I think that in the first round, it was a lot of nerves and the team that we played placed second overall,” Tacoma Baptist coach Hannah Steidle said.
“Then our team stepped up and it was all heart. They didn’t want their season to end. They wanted to play one more game and then one more game.”
Which they did.
After the loss to the Warriors, Tacoma Baptist bounced back late Thursday, topping Klickitat-Glenwood, 3-1, in a loser-out match.
Friday morning, the Crusaders won another loser-out contest, shuttuing out Shoreline Christian in straight sets.
That set Tacoma Baptist up in a placing game against Naselle. Though the Comets won in straight sets, the Crusaders still leave Yakima with a trophy.
“I think it’s a good stepping stone,” Steidle said. “The group of girls that made it to state this year I’ve had for a few years. Their ability to grow the program and make it better really influenced the whole season. They wanted to leave something for the future.”
Anika Christensen, a freshman middle blocker, finished the tournament with a monstrous 30 kills over four matches.
Outside hitter Skyya Christensen, an eighth-grader, added 20 kills. And senior setter Karissa Kliewer chipped in 17 kills and 11 aces.
“This is a five-year state trip in the making,” Steidle said. “The seniors on this team I’ve been coaching since they were in eighth grade. They really pulled together as a team and they led the team in leadership and in heart.”
The Crusaders have four seniors who will graduate in 2019, but they leave having made school history.
“The whole season we were fearlessly all in. They really lived by that,” Steidle said. ”Last season we were at the bottom, and this season we finished eighth. They really went with the mentality, ‘We have nothing left to lose. We’re going to give it our all.’ ”
White River 3, Kingston 0: The Hornets stayed alive in a consolation match in the evening session Friday at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey.
White River topped the Buccaneers in straight sets (25-15, 25-21, 27-25) in a loser-out match to advance to the second day of the tournament.
A loss to Blaine earlier in the morning, 3-2, immediately had the Hornets facing elimination. The two programs traded wins in the first four sets, before Blaine ultimately won the final set, 15-11.
“We had a real long ... meeting after that game,” White River coach Lina Randall said. “We were able to talk some things out that we needed to talk out.”
And then the Hornets swept Kingston, led by freshman outside hitter Elle Thomas, who had nine kills, eight digs and once ace in the match.
“We’re super excited to be moving on to Day 2,” Randall said. “It’s been a season of a lot of growth. Our goal was to make it to Day 2 of state.”
The Hornets will play in a loser-out match at 8:30 a.m. Saturday against Pullman. The winner is guaranteed a spot in a trophy game, and will play for seventh.
“We’re in a great spot right now. Pullman is very tough,” Randall said. “We’re going to have to play our best to beat them.”
Pullman 3, Washington 0: Searching for their first state trophy in program history, the Patriots came up short after carrying a 19-0 record into the tournament.
Washington lost to the Greyhounds in straight sets (25-21, 33-31, 25-13) in an elimination match Friday afternoon.
Earlier in the morning, Washington lost, 3-2, to defending state championship Burlington-Edison in the opening round.
Despite the Patriots forcing a fifth set, the Tigers won the decisive game, 15-11.
Fife 3, Steilacoom 2: An opening-round loss to Prosser, 3-1, set the Trojans up against a 2A SPSL rival in an elimination match Friday evening.
And, just like they did in both regular-season meetings, Fife notched a win over the Sentinels. The Trojans swept the Sentinels twice in league play, but a tournament win wasn’t as easy.
After Fife won the first two sets (25-18, 25-13), Steilacoom rallied to take the next two (25-21, 25-20), forcing a decisive fifth set.
Fife rallied to win, 15-7, ending Steilacoom’s season.
The Sentinels lost to Lynden, which is now in the semifinals, in straight sets earlier in the afternoon.
Fife plays another loser-out match against North Kitsap at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The winner of that will play for seventh.
Charles Wright 3, Freeman 0: The Tarriers are in the semifinals after sweeping their first two opponents Friday at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
Early in the evening, Charles Wright breezed to a 3-0 win over Naches Valley (25-18, 25-12, 25-16), setting up a quarterfinals match with Freeman.
The Tarriers ripped to a win there, too, winning each set by at least five points (25-18, 25-20, 25-17).
Charles Wright plays King’s at 1 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the final.
Morton-White Pass 3, Auburn Adventist 0: The Falcons’ season came to an end Thursday after back-to-back losses at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
Kittitas swept Auburn Adventist in the morning session, and Morton-White Pass did the same in the afternoon.