LACEY – Sehome volleyball coach Kristi White proudly shared the perspective of what she called a highly unusual “fun fact” while talking with her team.
“We had more wins at district (3-1) and state (2-2) than we had in our league season (4-9),” she said as her girls couldn’t help showing their happiness and pride in their team and the Northwest Conference.
That may not be a state first in volleyball, which began its state tournament in the 1970s.
But how many teams also have won a trophy -- Sehome took sixth with a 3-2 win over Pullman and a 2-3 loss to Fife -- when combined with playing the maximum 10 sets in two matches during the grueling medal round Saturday at Class 2A state at Saint Martin‘s University.
It is possible the answer is none, leading White to call her young team “comeback warriors.”
“This is not just another team,” she said.
Sehome indeed came back often throughout its 18-25, 25-17, 25-21, 16-25, 15-7 win over Pullman. The Mariners also made comeback’s scattered throughout their 15-25, 28-26, 27-25, 18-25, 9-15 loss to Fife.
It was the third state trophy in nine seasons for White, whose team finished 10-14 overall.
White’s only senior, Haley Wilson, with 35 assists against Fife and 45 assists against Pullman, displayed strong, consistent leadership.
Sophomore Cameron Hodges (13 kills, six aces), freshman Aspen Garrison (12 kills, two blocks), junior Lexi McGowan (26 digs) and sophomore Grace Vander Griend (three blocks) also led the Mariners against Pullman.
“We just wanted it,” said Vander Griend, explaining both her team’s postseason surge and the state trophy. “None of our players had been at state.”
In the fifth/sixth place match against Fife, Sehome’s leaders were Hodges (11 kills, 28 digs, 2 aces), Garrison (10 kills, four blocks), McGowan (25 digs), Wilson (35 assists, four aces) and promising sophomore reserve Taylor Brooks (six kills).
“I just wanted our players to enjoy the experience and gain from it,” said White, a former Sehome star who knew exactly what that meant.
Wilson said “definitely” when asked if she enjoyed the unexpected (by everyone else, that is) experience in the post-season. And her grin was plenty of evidence.
Sehome volleyball trophy case