Lake Stevens celebrates a point during its sweep of Mount Si in Tuesday’s Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament semifinal at Jackson High School. The Vikings clinched their fourth consecutive state berth with the victory. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Stevens celebrates a point during its sweep of Mount Si in Tuesday’s Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament semifinal at Jackson High School. The Vikings clinched their fourth consecutive state berth with the victory. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Stevens clinches 4th straight state volleyball berth

The Vikings sweep Mount Si in a winner-to-state 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament semifinal match.

MILL CREEK — It’s been a dominant four-year run for the Lake Stevens High School volleyball program.

Four consecutive Wesco 4A titles. A combined 68-8 overall record. A total mark of 54-2 in conference play.

And now, a fourth straight November trip to Eastern Washington.

The Vikings clinched their fourth consecutive state berth with a 25-17, 25-17, 25-10 sweep of Mount Si in a Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament semifinal Tuesday evening at Jackson High School.

“Everyone’s super excited and just has this genuine feeling of unity,” Lake Stevens junior Samaya Morin said. “We all worked super hard to get (to state), and it’s just amazing to be able to carry the legacy of continuing to go to state multiple years in a row.”

Lake Stevens’ Samaya Morin (right) posted a team-high 14 kills. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Stevens’ Samaya Morin (right) posted a team-high 14 kills. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The victory secured the Vikings a spot in the 16-team 4A state tournament, which takes place Nov. 22-23 in the Yakima Valley SunDome in Yakima.

The win also advanced Wesco 4A champion Lake Stevens (15-1) to Saturday’s bi-district championship match against KingCo 4A champion North Creek, which swept Jackson in Tuesday’s other semifinal. It marks the fourth consecutive year that the Vikings have reached either a district or bi-district title match.

Lake Stevens graduated three All-Wesco 4A players and two other seniors from last year’s team, which placed seventh at state for the program’s best state finish since 1989. But the junior-laden Vikings haven’t skipped a beat this fall, sweeping 13 of their 16 matches to keep this four-year stretch of dominance churning along.

“It’s fun to watch the girls create a legacy,” Lake Stevens coach Kyle Hoglund said. “We talk about legacy and the family aspect of it all, and how do we pass this down and how do we keep the next round being wanting it that bad and working together.

“And these players have learned from girls before (them) of how to work with each other, what that looks like, how to encourage each other and how to hold them accountable at the same time. It’s fun to watch, and it’s fun to be a part of.”

Lake Stevens’ Tatum Smith had nine digs in the state-clinching sweep. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Stevens’ Tatum Smith had nine digs in the state-clinching sweep. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Near the midway point of the first set, Lake Stevens seized control with a tiebreaking 12-2 run. Soon after, Morin delivered a well-placed spike to seal the opening frame.

KingCo 4A Tournament runner-up Mount Si (15-5) held a four-point lead midway through the second set, but Lake Stevens closed on a 15-4 run to gain a 2-0 match advantage. The Vikings then raced to a 7-0 lead in the third frame and cruised the rest of the way.

Morin led Lake Stevens with 14 kills and seven digs. Karli Tri added six kills and three blocks, while Maddie Iseminger chipped in five kills.

Piper Smith registered a team-high 11 digs, Tatum Smith added nine digs and Michelle Fast had eight digs.

“All of them had their opportunities, and all of them took care of the ball when we needed to,” Hoglund said of his team’s balance.

While the Vikings are in the familiar position of having locked up another trip to state, they certainly aren’t complacent.

“We really, really want to win state, so that’s our ultimate goal,” Fast said. “This is just the first step, and we’re all super excited.”

NORTH CREEK SWEEPS JACKSON

KingCo 4A champion North Creek swept Wesco 4A runner-up Jackson 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 in the other bi-district semifinal.

With the victory, the Jaguars (17-2) clinched their second consecutive state berth and advanced to Saturday’s bi-district championship against Lake Stevens.

The Timberwolves (12-4) will have another chance to punch their ticket to state Saturday in a winner-to-state, loser-out bi-district match.

“They run a super fast offense that we’re not quite used to, and so we struggled in the first couple sets trying to get on their hitters to get some touches on the block,” Jackson coach Mindy Staudinger said. “We started to do that in the third set, and it made a difference.”

Jackson’s Ainsley Johanson (left) and Erin Ingram attempt a block on North Creek’s Allison Wilks. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jackson’s Ainsley Johanson (left) and Erin Ingram attempt a block on North Creek’s Allison Wilks. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The loss snapped a nine-match win streak for Jackson. The Timberwolves started the season 3-3 before rattling off their string of victories, which included a four-set win over Wesco 4A champion Lake Stevens on Oct. 31.

“We’ve worked really hard on our defense,” Staudinger said. “It may not have shown tonight, but our defense has been pretty good. We’ve been working on being disciplined, playing forward (and) making sure that we’re in our places. … The defensive part has really been a game-changer for us.”

Paige Wilson led Jackson with 11 kills and Erin Ingram added nine. Lexi Dollarhide had seven digs and Ellina Powell provided 21 assists and six digs.

“At the end of the day, they’re a really strong opponent,” Staudinger said of North Creek, whose school is in just its third year since opening. “They did serve really, really well and made it very difficult for us to run our offense.

“It wasn’t our best passing night, and those are just things to put in the back of our minds to keep working on going forward.”

BOMB THREAT LEADS TO VENUE CHANGE

Tuesday’s bi-district semifinal matches were originally slated to be played at Glacier Peak High School. But after an anonymous bomb threat prompted an evacuation Tuesday morning at Glacier Peak, the matches were moved a few miles down the road to Jackson.

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