Tuesday, May 11, 2021
May 11, 2021

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Spudders step up as Ridgefield beats Woodland for district volleyball title

Junior Morgan Harter plays bigger role after senior Kohana Fukuchi is injured

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

Saturday was supposed to be for the seniors of the Ridgefield volleyball team.

But one of those seniors, setter Kohana Fukuchi, was on crutches for the 2A district title match at Hudson’s Bay, having rolled her ankle in practice Friday.

“It was kind of sad,” senior Emilea Stepaniuk said. “At our practice, it was like ‘oh shoot’ because it’s a total lineup change because she’s our other setter. So it was a little disappointing, but I was glad were able to work with what we had, and everyone stepped and played a position. I thought that was really good.”

The Spudders had to work a little harder, but they concluded a perfect season by beating Woodland 3-1 for the district title, 25-17, 19-25, 25-15, 25-23 at Hudson’s Bay.

While the other seniors – Stepaniuk, Presley McCaskill and Allie Andrew – did their part, it was junior Morgan Harter who made the biggest contribution.

Harter took over all the bulk of setting with Fukuchi sidelined.

“Obviously running a 5-1 is super different than having two setters, but it just motivated me to help my team and take us the district title,” Harter said.

After breezing past W.F. West 3-0 in the semifinals, the Spudders had a tougher time with 2A Greater St. Helens League rival Woodland.

The Beavers looked primed to even the match at two sets each when they charged out to 13-4 lead in the fourth.

But Ridgefield won 18 of the next 23 points before finishing off the victory.

“I am very proud,” Stepaniuk said. “I felt like we really battled in that last game. It was a tough battle between us and Woodland because Woodland has been playing really well. But I was glad were able to step up and battle like that.”

Woodland’s Emma Swett capped her prep career with 15 kills and 15 digs.

Even though the Spudders didn’t get the chance to play at state again, Saturday’s win did help to put a bow on an unusual volleyball season.

“With COVID being a thing, even though we didn’t get a state, it still means a lot to win districts and hold the title that we’ve had for the past two years,” Harter said.