LACEY — They could have dwelled on the points and trophies that got away.
But that’s not what Columbia River will take home from the 3A state volleyball tournament.
Instead, it’s a fourth-place trophy and a lot of good memories.
“I’m really pleased,” said junior Trisha Johnson. “We could have done better, but we fought for every point.”
Columbia River lost 3-1 to Holy Names Academy of Seattle in the semifinals at St. Martin’s University on Saturday.
The Chieftains then fell 3-1 to Southridge of Kennewick, the pre-tournament favorite that suffered its first loss of the season in the semifinals.
Both matches could have easily gone the other way. River lost four sets Saturday that were decided by two points.
“I’m proud of my kids because they never gave up,” River coach Moe Melhart said. “Getting here was our goal, and everything else is just icing.”
For drama and tension, River’s first-day matches took the cake. Surviving two five-set thrillers Friday provided the lasting memories from the event.
Columbia River came up short in the semifinals. That was mostly due to its opponent standing tall.
Holy Names’ defense at the net was the difference in the match. The Cougars scored 18 points on blocks compared to four for Columbia River.
“They definitely outblocked us,” Melhart said. “Holy Names is a good team. They were just a little bit more polished than us.”
The fortune and poise that propelled River on Friday was lacking in the semifinal loss. Leading 22-16 in the fourth set, River saw Holy Names win seven of eight points to pull even at 23.
River survived a set point, then had one of its own after back-to-back kills by Evi Wilson. But three straight points by Holy Names put the Cougars in the title match.
Wilson finished the match with 19 kills and 16 digs.
In the evening match, River won the first set 27-25 over a No. 1 Southridge team that clearly won’t be pleased with third place. The Chieftains hung in the following three games, but fell 26-24, 25-21 and 27-25.
Esti Wilson had 30 digs and her sister, Evi, had 18 kills and 19 digs. Johnson added 15 kills and 15 digs.
Also Saturday, Prairie lost in five sets to Timberline of Lacey in the 3A consolation bracket.
After forcing a fifth set by winning the fourth set 25-21, the Falcons fell 15-12 in the tiebreaker.
Kaylee Warren had 16 kills and 8 digs while Huong Nguyen added 12 kills.
Camas finished sixth in the 4A tournament in Lacey after going 1-1 on Saturday.
The Papermakers nearly completed a huge comeback in the fifth-sixth place match against Kentwood. After falling behind 25-22, 25-19, Camas won the next two 25-23, 25-19. Kentwood won a tight fifth-set 18-16.
Camas advanced to the trophy round with a four-set win over Snohomish.
The Papermakers won the first two sets 25-18, lost the third 25-22, then won the match by prevailing 25-23 in the fourth.
Lauren Harris had 16 kills in that match, while Abby Young had three aces and 18 digs.
Woodland fell in four sets to Annie Wright of Tacoma in the consolation bracket in Yakima.
After the Trico League runner up dropped the first set 25-18, the Beavers won the second 25-17.
Annie Wright took the third set 25-22 before finishing the match with a 27-25 victory in the fourth.