Lynden Christian’s run atop the 1A state volleyball ranks came to an end this year, but the Lyncs hardly left the Yakima SunDome empty handed.
Despite stumbling in its attempt to successfully defend its championship and join the 2015-2016 Lynden Christian team as back-to-back titlist, the Lyncs finished fifth at this year’s state tournament, marking the seventh consecutive season they’ve picked up a trophy.
Lynden Christian (17-6) defeated Northwest Conference rival Nooksack Valley (15-10) in straight sets in the placing round (25-18, 25-21, 25-10). The Pioneers finished sixth at the tournament, giving the program its first state trophy since 2002.
After beating Charles Wright, 3-0, in the opening round, Lynden Christian lost in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion Chelan.
Lynden Christian disposed of Chelan in last year’s first round following a hard-fought five-set victory. The Mountain Goats returned the favor in the rematch, sweeping the Lyncs (28-26, 25-17, 25-18) in this year’s quarterfinals.
Much like the Lyncs did last season, Chelan parlayed the first-round triumph into a state championship.
This year’s trophy marks the seventh consecutive season Lynden Christian has taken home hardware from the state tournament, a feat matched by few teams regardless of classification. In addition to last year’s state championship, the Lyncs also won state titles in 2014 and 2015, were second in 2017, third in 2016 and fifth in 2013.
Lynden Christian graduates just two seniors in Brooklyn Bosman and Liv Mellema, while the Pioneers say goodbye to three: Jasmin Harmon, Taylor Loreen and Kimberly Perry.
Nooksack Valley’s road to sixth place included a four-set win in a loser-out match over Meridian. The Trojans, who were making their first state tournament appearance in 10 years, finished the season 16-10.
Over at the 3A tournament in Ellensburg, both Lynden and Sehome capped strong seasons with state berths with the Lions securing sixth place.
Lynden, which finished as state runner-up in each of the last two seasons, won a thrilling five-set match (25-23, 19-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-11) over Pullman in a loser-out contest to advance to the trophy round where they lost in four to White River.
Juniors Anna Vanderyacht and Faith Baar both had 15 kills for the Lions, who also received 10 kills from senior Savonne Sterk and 39 assists from senior Robin Scarlett in the season-ending loss to the Hornets.
The Lions defeated Selah (3-0) in the first round before losing to defending state champion Ridgefield (3-1) in the quarterfinals.
Sehome, which returned to state following a one-year hiatus, went 0-2 at the tournament, losing to Washington (3-2) and Steilacoom (3-1).
State-bound Ferndale repeats as district volleyball champs
Make that seven straight Class 3A state tournament berths for the Ferndale High School volleyball program.
Head coach Patti Hoelzle once again has the Golden Eagles soaring at the right time as she guided Ferndale to the 3A District 1 championship with a sweep of second-seeded Snohomish at Marysville-Pilchuck on November 16.
Ferndale, which was seeded fifth in the district tournament after posting an 11-3 record during the regular season, knocked off No. 4 Edmonds-Woody in the opening round, and then bested previously undefeated Arlington in four sets in the semifinals (25-22, 26-28, 25-23, 25-22).
Ferndale swept Snohomish in a rematch of last year’s title match, which Ferndale also won, 3-0, to claim the program’s third consecutive district championship.
The Golden Eagles (14-3) will now take plenty of momentum and a six-match winning streak into the state tournament, which starts Friday, November 22 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
After losing to Lynden on October 24, Ferndale has been on a tear, sweeping its final three regular season opponents (Bellingham, Lakewood and Squalicum) before claiming the district crown.
The Golden Eagles will open state tournament play at 9:45 a.m. against Pierce County League champion Stadium (16-2). The Tigers enter state as the fifth seed out of district 4.
A win over Stadium and Ferndale will play the winner of Central Kitsap and Roosevelt. Capital, the 2017 state champion, looms as the favorite on the opposite side of the Golden Eagles’ half bracket and would end up being Ferndale’s semifinal opponent should both teams advance.
Defending state champion Mount Spokane leads the teams on the upper half of the bracket. The undefeated Wildcats (15-0) are looking to become the first repeat 3A state titlist since Seattle Prep accomplished the feat in 2003.
Ferndale finished fourth at last year’s state tournament, losing to eventual runner-up Lakeside (Seattle) in the semifinals and to Capital in the trophy round.
The Golden Eagles join Capital and Mount Spokane as the only teams to have placed in each of the last three seasons. In addition to last year’s fourth-place finish, Ferndale finished fifth in 2017 and eighth in 2018.
Despite graduating several high-profile players last year, the Golden Eagles haven’t missed a beat in 2019. They are led by five seniors in 5-foot-11 outside hitter Nicole Headrick, 5-7 libero Brianna Byrnes, 5-11 right side hitter Morgan Joseph, 6-0 setter Malia Honrud and 5-4 Megan Miller, who joins sister, Liberty Miller, a junior, as the team’s defensive specialists.