LACEY — The bigger the lead, the harder the fall.
For the first two games of the Class 3A volleyball state tournament quarterfinal, Camas exuded nothing but joy and elation. But after Eastside Catholic won Friday’s five-game thriller at Saint Martin’s University, 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-15, 16-14, the Papermakers showed only heartbreak.
Earlier in the day, Camas had knocked off Kennewick in three games to advance to the quarterfinal. That momentum carried over in the early going against the Crusaders, as the Papermakers were predominantly on the attack.
Fans murmured to one another that Eastside Catholic looked “a little off,” and Crusaders coach Mike Bryant agreed. But he thought the reason was obvious.
“Camas was 100 percent the reason we were out of sorts early on,” he said.
But things changed quickly. With the third game tied at 20-20, Eastside Catholic (26-5) scored five of the next seven points to win. The Crusaders never trailed in the fourth game and one point led 19-7.
Papermakers coach Julie Nidick said that her team strayed from the game plan that allowed them to shine in the first two games, instead regressing to a more conservative approach in which the goal appeared “not to lose.”
Even so, Camas (27-9) led 13-12 in the final game before Eastside Catholic closed it out. The Papermakers’ tearful locker room was not the most pleasant of environments afterward.
“These girls are really close to one another, it’s really too bad that it had to end this way,” Nidick said. “But now they have to let it go.”
Camas will meet Mount Si of Snoqualmie at 8 a.m. Saturday in a consolation game.
Brindl Langley led the Papermakers with 23 kills and 10 digs. Abbie Younkin posted 55 assists, while Sydney Schwartz added 13 kills, two blocks and two aces.
Prairie also played in quarterfinal Friday evening, and like Camas, left disappointed.
The Falcons knocked off Bainbridge Island in their first match of the day, but could never quite get the upper hand on Seattle Prep, which won in four games, 26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-21.
Prairie coach Andrea Doerfler said the her team “played too timid” for a team as good as Seattle Prep, and wished she would have seen more aggressiveness. Even so, the Panthers never got an easy point all night.
Toward the middle of the fourth game, as Seattle Prep fan remarked, “that Prairie team doesn’t have any quit in them.” The Falcons backed up that statement shortly after.
Trailing 22-15, Prairie (18-2) strung together five consecutive points that all but silenced the Panthers’ crowd.
“I think that just shows you the heart of our team,” Doerfler said. “We didn’t give up.”
Prairie will meet Auburn Mountainview at 9:45 a.m. Saturday.
Kita DeMare led the Falcons with 11 kills while Tori Porter put up 35 assists. Katie Pagel added 31 digs for Prairie.