LAKE STEVENS — The list of players with state tournament experience on the Snohomish volleyball team begins and ends with Lanesha Reagan.
Reagan played on the Panthers’ team that finished fifth in state as a freshman. Snohomish hasn’t been back since.
That didn’t sit well with the Panthers’ star senior outside hitter. She made it one of her goals to make sure she didn’t graduate without her teammates knowing that same feeling — a goal she accomplished on Tuesday.
Reagan had 26 kills, six aces and 18 digs to lead the Panthers to a 3-0 sweep of Lake Stevens in a 4A District 1 semifinals match to set up a meeting with fellow 4A North rival Mount Vernon in the district championship and guarantee a trip to state.
“All year long she (Reagan) kept telling the girls, ‘I want to get to state,’” Snohomish head coach Alex Tarin said. “The previous match she looked around and said, ‘Girls, I’m the only one that’s been to state; let’s all get there.’ That was something she really wanted to do was get us there.”
In the match that locked up Reagan’s long-awaited return to the state tournament, she finished with numbers that most players would be proud of in a five-set match.
“She’s a special player,” Tarin said. “She gets the girls to rally around her and then when it’s time she can bring it.”
This year’s trip to state was made even more special for Reagan because many of her teammates are also her classmates.
“It’s just great,” she said. “It’s such a different atmosphere because I’m playing with all of my best friends. Almost all of the girls here are seniors and I’m just playing with all my best friends and it feels great.”
The Vikings and Panthers finished in a three-way tie with Edmonds-Woodway for the Wesco 4A championship, all with 9-1 league records in the regular season. The Warriors earned the No. 1 seed and the Vikings the No. 2 seed based on a preseason number draw that is used in the event of a three-way tie.
The only thing standing in the way of an outright Wesco regular-season championship for the Vikings was the Panthers. Snohomish defeated Lake Stevens 3-0 on Oct. 22 — and the Panthers had the Vikings number again on Tuesday.
The Viking players, motivated by the earlier season loss to Snohomish, came out with intensity and with the crowd behind them and took an early lead. The Vikings led for most of the set, but Snohomish closed the gap late and eventually came back to take a lead at 22-21. The teams would alternate the next six points before Reagan finally closed out the set with one of her six aces.
“We’ve been doing mental strengthening,” Tarin said. “We’re doing drills, we’re reading things and to us we knew we were in it the whole entire time. We called the timeout (trailing) 15-11. I talked to them and said, ‘That’s OK, we’ve been in this situation before. We can win this.’ I kept telling them, ‘Win this.’”
With a one-set lead and momentum securely on their side, the Panthers never trailed in the second set winning 25-16 and bested that score in the third at 25-15.
The victory sets up an unlikely district championship match on Thursday against No. 5 seed Mount Vernon, which upset top-seed Edmonds-Woodway on Tuesday.
Should the Panthers win, it’s just another goal to check off the list.
“We wanted to be district champions along with league champs and get to state, so for us it’ll just fit right along with what we’ve been working for all season long,” Tarin said.
In the first match of the night, Monroe outlasted Kamiak behind 16 kills from Mia Adams in the loser-out, consolation quartfinal match. The Bearcats stayed alive and will face Edmonds-Woodway in a consolation semifinal match on Thursday. The Knights season came to an end with a record of 8-7.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Snohomish 26 25 25 — 3
Lake Stevens 24 16 15 — 0
Highlights—Snohomish: Lanesha Reagan 26 kills, six aces, 18 digs; Cyrene Hertzog 22 digs, three aces; Kendle Valade-Nunez 21 assists; Emma McNeil 17 assists; Sarah Yelle six kills, two blocks, six aces; Bailey Armbruster eight kills; Kyla Mellick eight kills. Lake Stevens: Alexis Alverson 11 digs, 9-for-9 serving; Molli Drivdahl 19 assists, 8-for-9 serving, one ace; Kendall Swanson seven kills. Records—Snohomish 14-2 overall. Lake Stevens 12-4.
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Kamiak 22 21 25 26 14 — 2
Monroe 25 25 23 24 16 — 3
Highlights—Kamiak: Kat Anderson 11 kills, eight digs, two assists; Meghan Hayes four assists, 28 digs, two assists; Morgan Stanley 21 assists, 19 digs; Tiffany Nielson 14 kills; Rian Larsen four kills, four blocks, four digs; Janaye Perry 11 assists, nine digs; Ali Cantarano three aces, 14 digs; Maddy Young five kills, three assists, six digs. Monroe: Mia Adams 16 kills; Jessica Clark 13 kills, 18 digs; Chloe Cory 23 digs; Laura Aikins 23 assists; Amalia Ruiz 23 assists. Records—Kamiak 9-7 overall. Monroe 9-7.