The Auburn Riverside High School volleyball team’s five-set victory over Auburn Mountainview was much more than a consolation prize.
If the Ravens were going to lose to Kennedy Catholic in the district semifinals, they were more than happy beating the cross-town rival Lions for the third time in three matches this season — this one coming in the Class 3A West Central/Southwest district tournament Saturday for the district’s No. 3 seed to the 3A state tournament.
“We had to kind of get through some of our fear because when you go into a match against your rival, they have everything to gain and we have everything to lose,” Auburn Riverside coach Chris Leverenz said. “We beat them, beat them, beat them and they want to run around and say, ‘Hey, we beat you finally. We knew we were better the whole time.’ It’s about bragging rights.”
Auburn Riverside (27-3) got 18 kills each from seniors Kiana Drumheller and Kasey Holand and sophomore Calley Heilborn.
“It took a lot of heart because we knew they wanted to beat us really bad,” Drumheller said. “We could tell they were fired up and that fired us up and we came out with the mentality of ‘we are not losing.’ ”
The Ravens entered Saturday as the state’s top-ranked 3A team. But they had to rally back from a 2-1 deficit after Auburn Mountainview’s lanky yet powerful junior outside hitter Kylie Lewis, a Boise State commit, finished the third set with a kill for a 25-23 win.
But Auburn Riverside took the fourth set, 25-23 — in which it trailed 18-14 — and took the momentum.
Drumheller’s spike and kill in the fifth set gave Auburn Riverside an 8-5 lead and Heilborn couldn’t contain herself — dancing, jumping and kicking in excitement before the Ravens took the 15-11 win.
They earned the third seed — with AMV taking the fourth seed — to the 3A state tournament, which begins Friday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Leverenz said it was almost a good thing her defending state champion Auburn Riverside, which went 35-0 on its way to the title last season, lost that district semifinal match, 3-0, against Kennedy Catholic earlier Saturday.
The Ravens are a new team now — and won’t travel to Kennewick with people thinking they’re that same as last year.
“We all breathed a little bit easier because we don’t want that monkey on our back anymore,” Leverenz said. “We weren’t the team to beat going into the season and then we start winning games and people put us back on a pedestal again.”
Kennedy Catholic lost to Columbia River, 25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 15-10, in the district title match.
Enumclaw 3, Capital 2: Barbie Becker fell to the court, putting everything she had into a kill in the fifth set to put the Hornets ahead, 16-15.
The senior then finished the match with her 28th kill on the ensuing serve to give Enumclaw a 17-15 victory — ending the Cougars’ season and sending Enumclaw to the 3A state tournament.
“For us to come together and pull this out — it’s incredible,” Becker said. “I knew everything I did was going to help my team. I knew every ball we hit, every point we put down was going to put us a step closer.”
Capital jumped to a 7-1 lead in the fifth set before Enumclaw coach Jackie Carel called a timeout.
Enumclaw responded with a 10-3 run.
“I told them, ‘We can’t give up now. We need to be courageous, we need to be brave,’ ” said a teary-eyed Carel. “And they just came out and got us back into it. It wasn’t anything strategic. They just needed to keep fighting for each other.”
Enumclaw earned the fifth seed with the win — after winning a coin flip with Prairie, the No. 6 seed. Prairie ended North Thurston’s season with a 3-1 victory.
White River earns No. 1 seed: White River followed its Class 2A SPSL title with the 2A SeaKing/West Central district championship with an 18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 17-25, 16-14 victory over North Kitsap.
The Hornets (18-1) earn the district’s No. 1 seed to the 2A state tournament, which begins Friday at Saint Martin’s University.
Just like in its district semifinal match against Liberty of Issaquah earlier in the day, White River had to rally after losing the first set. And North Kitsap took an 11-7 lead in the fifth set.
Franklin Pierce earns the fourth seed after a 17-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22 loss to Liberty. Fife beat Bremerton, 26-24, 25-13, 25-14, in a winner-to-state, loser out match after ending Steilacoom’s season with a victory earlier in the day.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677