YAKIMA — Three local prep volleyball teams are coming home to Snohomish County with hardware.
Monroe dropped both of its matches Saturday in the Yakima Valley SunDome, but earned its best-ever state finish with a fourth-place trophy in the Class 4A state tournament.
Snohomish and Lake Stevens each won a pair of consolation matches Saturday to cap their seasons with trophies. The Panthers took fifth place in 3A and the Vikings placed seventh in 4A.
BEARCATS PLACE 4TH IN BEST-EVER STATE FINISH
Monroe’s nine-match win streak ended in the 4A state semifinals with a three-set loss to eventual champion West Valley-Yakima on Saturday afternoon.
The Bearcats (15-6) jumped to an early 9-4 lead in the opening set, but West Valley followed a timeout with a 14-3 run and remained in control for the remainder of the match for a 25-18, 25-17, 25-18 victory.
West Valley (21-0) was led by 6-foot-5 middle blocker and University of Minnesota signee Shea Rubright, one of 24 players nationwide to be named an Under Armour first-team All-American. Rubright posted 10 kills and a team-high 4.5 blocks.
“When she’s that tall and can go over your block, it’s really hard defensively,” Monroe coach April Munoz said. “She’s a great player (and) has a great future.”
Adysen Burns added 10 kills, six aces and eight digs for the Rams, who lost just two sets all season.
Sarah Day led Monroe with seven kills and Avery Davidson added six, but the Bearcats were hampered by 14 attack errors and seven service errors.
“We beat ourselves a lot,” Munoz said. “(West Valley) did their share of damage, I have to say. I have to give them credit. … But then once we started making errors, we got in our own heads and afraid of making mistakes.”
Monroe then dropped the first two sets of Saturday evening’s third-place match against Kentridge, but showed resolve in winning the next two frames to force a deciding fifth set. However, the Bearcats’ comeback bid ran out of steam in the final frame, with Kentridge prevailing 15-9 for a five-set victory.
“There was a lot of heart in there,” Munoz said. “They were giving their all. They really were wiped out. We were physically and emotionally exhausted by that last set, and it took a toll on them.”
The two losses Saturday hardly dimmed what’s been a storybook journey for Monroe, which rode a lengthy win streak to the 4A Wes-King bi-district title, the program’s first-ever state semifinal appearance and the best state placing in Bearcats volleyball history.
“It’s been the best journey,” Monroe senior Sophia Barber said. “I’ve never played with a team that I’ve loved and trusted so much. … I couldn’t have asked for a better season.”
The state semifinal run also was quite a send-off for Munoz, who announced to her team earlier this fall that she’s moving out of state and that this would be her 14th and final season coaching the Bearcats.
“It was an awesome season,” Munoz said. “The kids just improved and improved and improved. It was all that a coach can hope for, and it showed out here on the court. … It’s pretty sweet. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
PANTHERS CLAIM 5TH-PLACE TROPHY
Snohomish capped its success-filled season with a fifth-place state trophy, the program’s best state finish since 2010.
The Panthers (19-2) rebounded from Friday night’s 3A state quarterfinal loss to Capital with a pair of consolation-bracket victories Saturday, beating Eastside Catholic in four sets before sweeping Prairie in the fifth-place match. It was the second consecutive state trophy for Wesco 3A champion Snohomish, which placed eighth in state last year.
MacKenzie Whyte led the Panthers with 10 kills in the win over Eastside Catholic. Grace Raper added nine kills, and Natalie Stern had seven kills and 18 digs.
Stern then posted a team-high nine kills and 14 digs in the sweep of Prairie, and Lauren Riske added five aces and 14 digs.
“Capital was great, and they beat us fair and square,” Snohomish coach Alex Tarin said. “And today we decided, ‘You know what? We’re going to go out with a bang.’ We didn’t want to just leave and win a trophy. We wanted fifth (place), because we knew that was the highest we could get. So that’s what they got.”
VIKINGS RALLY FOR 7TH PLACE
Lake Stevens rallied past Chiawana in the 4A seventh-place match with a 25-27, 21-25, 25-20, 26-24, 15-7 victory. After dropping the first two sets, the Vikings won the final three frames to claim the seventh-place trophy.
Samaya Morin led Lake Stevens (18-3) with 18 kills and 24 digs in the comeback victory. Tatum Smith added 12 kills, Michelle Fast provided 24 assists, Brooke Valentine had 32 digs and Karli Tri posted eight blocks.
“They just came up resilient and kept fighting,” Vikings coach Kyle Hoglund said. “They knew they had it in them. They just needed to work out a few little things. … The key was them just believing in themselves and just trusting each other.”
Earlier in the day, the Lake Stevens earned a four-set win over Kennedy Catholic. After being swept by Tahoma in Friday’s state opener, the Vikings capped their season with three straight victories.
“It means a lot,” said Hoglund, whose team reached state last year but didn’t claim a trophy. “Last year we kind of came up a little bit short. The girls earned it. They worked hard all season. It’s fun to watch this whole family dynamic work out from the seniors to the sophomores, just creating a legacy that we can keep going with.”
OTHER LOCAL TEAMS
Kamiak (13-9) ended its season with a three-set loss to Chiawana in a 4A consolation match.
Stanwood (15-5) was eliminated with a four-set loss to Seattle Prep in a 3A consolation match.