You'd think after 16 straight years of getting to the State Volleyball Tournament, things would get easier.
But Lynden Christian coach Kim Grycel said it's actually the opposite.
"Every year gets a little more stressful and a little harder," said Grycel, who has guided the Lyncs to state every year but her first at the helm. "Our conference is really tough. Volleyball on the west side is becoming a lot tougher. We don't take getting there for granted."
LC learned just how tough it was in the fourth-place game of the Class 1A Tri-District Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 9, at King's, as it had to work to get past Forest Ridge in three games, 26-24, 25-17, 25-12, and earn its 17th straight trip to state.
The 1A State Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15-16, at the Yakima Valley SunDome. The Lyncs (16-3) find out who they'll face in the first round after a WIAA drawing.
LC already had to beat a state-level opponent in Forest Ridge, which jumped ahead 7-0 in the first game on Saturday.
"The girls, just like they have all season, fought back and fought back, and when we won that game, it gave us a lot of confidence," Grycel said.
Kara Bajema and Karley De Jager led the Lyncs with 11 kills apiece, while Madison Weg filled out the stat sheet with eight kills, seven blocks, seven digs and 15 assists. Morgan Van Kooten also had four kills and seven blocks and teamed with Weg to shut down what Grycel called an outstanding outside hitter for Forest Ridge.
"Madison and Morgan did a nice job blocking her and shutting her down, and our defense played well behind the block," Grycel said. "That was the key to victory for us, was to disrupt her and get her off her game a little bit."
ON TO STATE
Northwest Conference teams moving on to the state tournaments. Tournaments will be played Thursday and Friday, Nov. 15-16. First-round opponents and times will be decided by draw:
At Saint Martin's University and Tumwater High School
At Pierce College
At Yakima Valley SunDome
? Lynden Christian