The Lake Stevens’ bench rushes onto the court to celebrate their team’s win over Bothell during a 4A District 1/2 Tournament match on Nov. 8, 2022, in Lake Stevens. (John Gardner / Pro Action Image)

The Lake Stevens’ bench rushes onto the court to celebrate their team’s win over Bothell during a 4A District 1/2 Tournament match on Nov. 8, 2022, in Lake Stevens. (John Gardner / Pro Action Image)

Lake Stevens volleyball clinches 6th consecutive state berth

The Vikings sweep Bothell in a 4A District 1/2 semifinal and secure another trip to Yakima for the state tournament.

LAKE STEVENS — Once again, the Lake Stevens High School volleyball team is headed to state.

This year’s group sure looks ready to do some damage.

The second-seeded Vikings clinched their sixth consecutive state berth in style, rolling to a dominant 25-20, 25-13, 25-14 sweep of third-seeded Bothell in a Class 4A District 1/2 Tournament semifinal Tuesday night.

“It feels like a dream,” Lake Stevens senior Hayli Tri said. “We feel like such a complete team this year, and I couldn’t be more excited to be going back with the girls that I love so much. And I just can’t wait for what the end holds for us.”

It’s been yet another success-filled season for the Vikings (15-2), who have developed into one of the state’s premier programs.

Prior to 2016, Lake Stevens had advanced to state only once in the previous quarter-century. Since then, the Vikings have compiled a 114-15 record and have reached state every year.

And they claimed hardware in each of the past three trips, with a runner-up state trophy in 2019 and seventh-place trophies in 2018 and 2021.

“It’s an honor to go back,” Lake Stevens coach Kyle Hoglund said. “I’m so proud of these girls for being able to come together and to do it again and keep the Lake tradition rolling.”

The Vikings returned a strong core from last year’s seventh-place state team, including four all-league selections. On top of that, they added an impact freshman in outside hitter Laura Eichert.

The result has been a talented and well-rounded unit.

“We’ve come together emotionally and physically,” Tri said. “And I feel like this year has been the most complete out of all the years I’ve played here. We have some really awesome, talented girls, and girls who know how to put up a fight. And it makes for an awesome combination.”

It was all on full display Tuesday against the defending 4A state champions.

Eichert peppered Bothell (14-7) with 10 kills. Senior outside hitter Bella Christensen showcased her all-around skill set with nine kills, seven digs and five aces.

Senior middle blocker Peri Hoshock added five kills and two blocks. Jamie Call, a senior, had two kills and two blocks. Senior middle blocker Hayli Tri chipped in two kills and one block. Junior libero Alyss Kelly had 10 digs. And junior setter Katelyn Eichert provided at least 30 assists.

“We try to play balanced volleyball as best we can, and the girls support each other in doing that,” Hoglund said. “And that makes it fun, where it’s not just one person all time time. It’s all of them playing together.”

With the victory, Lake Stevens advanced to face unbeaten KingCo 4A champion North Creek (21-0) in Saturday’s bi-district championship match.

It’ll be a showdown between two of the top three teams in the 4A state coaches poll, with the Vikings ranked No. 2 and the Jaguars at No. 3. It’ll also be a rematch of North Creek’s five-set win over Lake Stevens on Sept. 7, which marked the only time all season the Jaguars lost multiple sets.

The Vikings, who cruised to a sixth consecutive Wesco 4A title by sweeping all eight of their conference matches, suffered their only other loss in an early-season three-set defeat to 3A second-ranked Lakeside.

In addition to a challenging non-league slate, Lake Stevens traveled to a pair of highly competitive tournaments.

In late September, the Vikings reached the semifinals of the Linda Sheridan Volleyball Classic in Spokane. And in early October, they reached the championship match of the Southern California Volleyball Invite in San Diego. They went a combined 10-3 in those two tournaments.

“The whole idea was to prepare us for state,” Hoglund said. “We have a dream of winning it all. Having our schedule set up the way it is and the tournaments we played was very intentional. And they did very well through it all.”

Next week, Lake Stevens will head to Yakima for the Nov. 18-19 state tournament. The Vikings likely will be one of the top contenders for the 4A state crown.

And after a first-round loss last year and not having a state tournament opportunity in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lake Stevens is hungry to make some serious noise.

“We’re so ready,” Christensen said.

This story will be updated with video highlights.

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