YAKIMA, Wash. – For the first time since 2018, the Class 3A state volleyball championship trophy will not be placed in a Spokane high school’s trophy case.
Seattle’s Lakeside took it to the best of The Lilac City on Friday, defeating 2018 and 2019 champion Mount Spokane in a four-set semifinal before defeating defending champion Mead in the final at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
The Lions also first won the title in 2016.
The championship is redemption for Lakeside, which also entered the 2021 tournament as the No. 1 seed. 1, but did not reach the trophy round.
“There was definitely some unfinished business,” Lions coach Jeff Kim said. “The seniors wanted it and won it and played their best game in the last game of the season.”
Lakeside rode stellar service, tight defense and an outside shot of 12th– Graders Sophie Broesamle and Yazzy Muhammad to the crown.
“To come together this year for the state tournament and have the success that we did is a reward for everything we had to go through last year,” said Muhammad, who was barely slowed by a left knee badly sprained by a late-season injury. the season.
The 6-foot-2 standout capped her career by slamming the ball past the Panthers’ defense for two of the Lions’ final points.
“A lot of us seniors have been on the team since our senior year when we weren’t that good — we barely made it to state that year,” she said. “To come in here and dominate a team like Mead was very rewarding for us.”
As if knocking off the tournament favorite wasn’t a tall enough task, the Panthers — the No. 2 seed — struggled to find a rhythm.
“We’re a middle-dominant team, and if we can’t pass the ball properly, then we’re in trouble,” Mead coach Shawn Wilson said. “And we were in trouble from the start because we weren’t passing the ball like we should.”
The Lions jumped on the Panthers in each of the three sets and never looked back. It was a 7-2 advantage in the opening game, then a 12-7 lead in the second frame and – after Mead scored the first two points of the final set – Lakeside took a 12-4 lead in the clincher.
“We really wanted to focus on serving and defense — just a relentless attitude, going after every ball, making sure nothing drops and sacrificing your body,” Kim said.
Mead downed Bishop Blanchet, 25-19, 19-25, 26-24, 25-20 to reach the championship match.
The Bears, however, came back and battled past Mount Spokane, 17-25, 27-25, 26-25, 25-22 to take third place in a rematch of the 2016 championship.
The Wildcats’ fourth-place finish was their sixth consecutive top-five finish.
(Featured photo by Eric Trent)