Prairie reaches volleyball title match

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

Published:

 

LACEY — Prairie High School is one win away from a state championship in volleyball.

The Falcons swept Holy Names Academy of Seattle 25-21, 25-16, 25-23 in the semifinals Saturday afternoon, moving into the title match of the Class 3A state tournament at St. Martin's University.

Prairie will play North Thurston of Lacey at 8:15 for the championship (follow live updates on Twitter: @360Preps).

Since winning a five-set nail-biter against Mercer Island in Friday's opening round of the 16-team tournament, Prairie has dominated two opponents in advancing to the final. The Falcons swept Auburn Mountainview on Friday and then dispatched Holy Names.

"They're a very good blocking team," Prairie coach Andrea Doerfler said of Holy Names. "We had to make adjustments in how we put the ball away."

Mission accomplished. Karlee Lubenow finished with 10 kills against the Cougars while Carissa Campbell had nine and Kaitlyn Sitton added eight.

After winning the first two games, Prairie built a lead in Game 3 before letting it slip away. A 6-0 run gave Holy Names a 22-21 advantage, but the Cougars made errors on the next four points to close the match.

The victory gave Prairie its first trip to a volleyball title match since 1998, when it won the school's only championship in the sport. The Falcons finished third at the state tournament in 2009 and fifth in 2011.

In other action early Saturday, Columbia River lost a five-game match against Glacier Peak in the Class 3A fifth-place semifinals.

In the 4A tournament, Camas defeated league rival Union in five games in the fifth-place semifinals. The Papermakers will face Puyallup at 6:45 Saturday in the contest for fifth and sixth place.