YAKIMA – The Ridgefield and Columbia River volleyball teams rose early and rose above their competition Friday at the Class 2A state tournament.
The 2A Greater St. Helens League rivals, who spent much of the year ranked No. 1 and 2 in the state, each earned two 3-0 wins to clinch berths in the state semifinals Saturday.
Being awake early is a fact of life for high school students, though some may not like it. But the rooster call for Friday’s first-round matches made first-period classes seem fit for night owls.
With Class 2A, 3A and 4A tournaments all taking place Friday in the Yakima Valley SunDome, matches started as early as 7 a.m.
That’s when Ridgefield, the two-time 2A defending state champion, began its title quest.
For Ridgefield’s Emily Paul, the alarm rang at 5 a.m. By 5:30 a.m., the senior defensive specialist was with her teammates in the hotel lobby for breakfast.
“I think it’s hard for our team physically because it’s so early in the morning,” Paul said. “But for me personally, it wakes me up. It’s exciting because you can expect anything from the other team.”
The team cranked out its usual prematch playlist on the drive to the SunDome. By the time they took the court, the Spudders were ready.
Ridgefield rolled to a 25-12, 25-10, 25-7 sweep of No. 14-seed Sequim in the first round. Emily Andrew had seven of her team-high 12 kills in the first set.
Top-seeded Columbia River had to wait a little longer. The Rapids’ 8:45 a.m. match against No. 16 Mark Morris started 50 minutes late after the prior match on their scheduled court went five sets.
The Rapids weren’t fazed, cruising to a 25-17, 25-17, 25-8 win over a team River swept twice in the 2A GSHL season.
Getting up for an early match was only half the challenge. Each had to come back for an early-evening quarterfinal match.
Columbia River (21-1) didn’t miss a beat. The Rapids rolled past No. 9 Anacortes 25-15, 25-22, 25-13 to advance to a semifinal clash with No. 4 Burlington-Edison on Saturday.
“Our coaches did a really good job of making sure we refueled,” Columbia River junior Rylie Reeves said. “We had a little time for a nap. But then we were right back here watching teams we might play tomorrow.”
On opposite ends of the net, Reeves and Lauren Dreves were a double threat in River’s attack. Against Anacortes, they combined for 30 kills.
“We have a great defensive line for passing and ball control,” Reeves said. “Our setter, Caroline Hansen, she’s able to get the ball to us basically perfect every time.”
Ridgefield showed no cobwebs in rolling to a quarterfinal win over No. 6 Lynden, 25-16, 25-15, 25-7. The Spudders will face No. 2 seed Steilacoom in the semifinals.
“You have to chase the energy,” Paul said. “You have to create your own crowd because its so far away from home.”
Camas falls in 4A quarterfinals
Camas fell in the quarterfinals of the 4A state tournament, losing in four sets to Graham-Kapowsin.
Graham-Kapowsin, the No. 4 seed, was to only team to beat the No. 5 seed Papermakers this season. The teams played five sets in the first round of the bi-district tournament.
After Camas (19-2) won the first set 25-23, Graham-Kapowsin took the next three 25-23, 25-13 and 25-18.
The Papermakers will play in the fifth-place semifinal on Saturday.
Camas began the tournament by sweeping past North Creek of Bothell in the first round.
Emmy Hansen had 14 kills to lead the Papermakers, who won 25-13, 25-15 and 25-17.
Kendall Mairs added eight kills. Chloe Ascuitto and Sami Tyler anchored a front line that was dominant at the net.
“I think we came out really strong with our tough serve and good defense,” Hansen said. “We play really well together. Being able to put the ball away and playing fast is really important.”