The Cascade Conference volleyball race wasn’t decided on Oct. 7, but for one night there was a clear separation at the top.
King’s used the momentum of its fast start in front of a loud home crowd and rolled to a three-game sweep of Archbishop Murphy, winning 25-16, 25-17, 25-15.
King’s improved to 7-0 while Archbishop Murphy lost for the first time this season, falling to 6-1. The teams will meet again Oct. 29 at Archbishop Murphy.
“You can’t play great unless you play great teams, and we really looked at Archbishop Murphy as a big challenge for us,” King’s coach Steve Bain said. “That’s a good benchmark.”
It also was the best the Knights have played this year, he said.
They used a 10-0 run to take a 21-6 lead in the first game and never trailed in the entire match until the third game when Archbishop Murphy jumped to an early lead.
“We have a lot of new faces in new positions and we’re starting to come together,” Bain said. “I thought the difference in the game was our ability to control the ball a little bit better. We passed better.”
Junior Diona Kirton, in her first year at King’s after transferring from Jackson, led all players with 11 kills. Jordan Irish, a senior, had eight kills and senior Laura Friar seven. Junior Anna Cesari finished with 25 assists.
Bain also praised senior libero Meagan Foote’s strong play in the middle.
“She passed lights-out and she dug everything,” he said. “It was a good team effort. You can’t just label one person. We were really well connected as a group.”
Archbishop Murphy learned the hard way why King’s, which finished third in the state tournament the past two years, is the top-ranked Class 1A team.
“They did a great job keeping us out of the offense,” said Archbishop Murphy coach Jim Hardy, whose Wildcats are eighth in the Class 2A state rankings. “They played a lot better than we did.”
That was apparent from the beginning, when King’s scored the first three points of the match, then led 10-6 before beginning its biggest run of the night.
The Knights scored 10 straight points, two of them on aces from junior Tina Boggs. They also benefited from an Archbishop Murphy serve into the net, then three other times when the Wildcats couldn’t control the ball on their side of the court.
“When you can’t serve and pass, bad things happen. We couldn’t serve, which we’re always good at,” Hardy said. “We’re usually the ones putting people in trouble, but instead it was them.”
Archbishop Murphy rallied late in the first game, scoring five of the last seven points, including two aces by junior Rachel Shober.
“We started playing better but we did not start passing better,” Hardy said. “And they kept playing well. We settled down, but they didn’t break down at all.”
King’s never let up its intensity, perhaps spurred by the memory of the last time the two teams met in this gym last season. King’s dominated the first game, then narrowly won a back-and-forth match that went five games.
“That was last year and this is now,” Bain said. “The difference is that we were able to sustain that level of intensity.”
King’s bolted ahead 11-3 in the second game and held that margin until the finish.
Archbishop Murphy, with senior Ashley Broadwell and Shober teaming for several blocks at the net, led 3-1 early in the third game and held a three-point lead before King’s came back.
Two strong kills by Kirton helped the Knights pull ahead 13-10. Then they went on a five-point run to seize the momentum. King’s scored the final two points of the game, including another hard kill by Kirton to finish the match.
“We had a pretty good idea of what Archbishop was going to do,” Bain said. “The girls studied their tendencies and they executed a really good game plan. I’m really proud of them.”
Kirby Arnold writes for the Herald in Everett.
King’s 17th of 64 teams at Crossover Classic
King’s finished second in its pool and went on to place 17th out of 64 teams at the Crossover Classic in Spokane, Oct. 10-11.
The Knights beat Class 4A Shadle Park of Spokane, 15-10, 11-15, 15-10, in the Gold Tournament bracket final, which included teams that finished second in their pools. King’s also beat Selah (15-7, 15-8), Kennewick (15-4, 17-15) and Tahoma (15-10, 15-11) en route to the final.
King’s, the No. 1 ranked team in the Class 1A coaches’ poll, lost its pool play opener against 1A Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), 22-25, 25-19, 25-20.
“Our offense struggled against them,” King’s coach Steve Bain said.
The Knights’ hitting percentage against Lakeside fell to 5 percent well off from the team’s usual 25 to 30 percent, Bain said.
King’s bounced back to sweep Class 4A Moses Lake 25-20, 25-13, 25-19 and beat East Valley of Spokane, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 3A, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23.
“After the Lakeside match the kids settled down and played well the rest of the day,” Bain said.
The Knights finished second in their pool behind East Valley based on number of games won and lost.
Laura Friar led King’s with 34 kills and eight aces in the tournament. Diona Kirton added 31 kills while Jordan Irish contributed 29 kills and eight blocks. Jennifer Dame had 14 kills and led the team with a .385 hitting percentage. Rosy Boggs racked up seven kills and seven aces while her sister Tina Boggs, added three aces in 41 attempts and converted 98 percent of her serves.
Setter Anna Cesari dished out 115 assists and served eight aces. Meagan Foote and Ann Peters played great defensively and passed well in serve-receive, Bain said.
Kirby Arnold writes for The Herald in Everett. Enterprise reporter Tony Dondero contributed to this story.