YAKIMA – When Lauren Dreves collapsed to the floor after rolling her ankle, Columbia River’s hopes for a second consecutive Class 2A state volleyball championship appeared to be wavering.
But anyone who had doubts doesn’t know Dreves’ toughness and the championship heart that resides in the Rapids.
Columbia River dominated league-rival Ridgefield in a rematch of last year’s Class 2A title match, repeating as state champions Saturday at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
That 3-0 win over the Spudders came after Dreves, an Auburn commit who is one of the state’s top players, was injured in the Rapids’ semifinal win over Burlington-Edison earlier Saturday.
Injured at the net on the final point of the third set, Dreves spent the break in obvious discomfort on the River bench. But she stayed in the match, collecting seven of her 33 kills in the fourth set of River’s 3-1 victory.
“I went up for a tight ball and landed on the foot of the player I was playing against,” Dreves said. “At the moment I was like ‘this hurts so bad. But I am not going out without literally not being able to walk off the court.’”
Dreves had 13 kills in the championship match, below her tournament average of 23.8 kills over four matches.
But the junior didn’t need to carry her team. Columbia River turned in one of its most complete performances against a Ridgefield team that handed the Rapids their only loss of the season and was appearing in its fourth consecutive state title match.
Seeing Dreves endure discomfort inspired her teammates.
“I think it fired me up just knowing no matter what, she’s always going to be on our side and have our team’s back,” said Sydney Dreves, River’s other outside hitter who had 10 kills in the title match. “I feel like with her having that injury, everyone else stepped up.”
To River coach Breanne Smedley, seeing Lauren Dreves rise to the occasion and carry her team at the state tournament came as no surprise.
“She’s the most competitive, intense, fierce player I’ve ever coached,” Smedley said. “She just gets into this zone. She rises to these pressure moments like no other player I’ve seen.”
Columbia River’s triumphant showing at the state tournament came one week after its most testing moment of the year.
The Rapids entered last Saturday’s district title match having dropped only one set all season. But Ridgefield won in five sets, handing the Rapids a reminder that they aren’t invincible.
“We definitely needed that,” senior setter Sophie Worden said. “They exploited our weaknesses. That way we had something to work off of.”
After that loss, Smedley pressed her team to turn that disappointment into motivation.
“The way they responded was awesome,” Smedley said. “As a coach, I really like well-timed losses like that. As we were going through the season and rolling along, I was like ‘when’s our adversity going to come?’ That was it. That gave us the opportunity to dig a little deeper.”
River seized the momentum with a rally late in the first set. Tied 20-20, the Rapids scored three of the next four points and eventually won 25-22.
The second and third sets weren’t as close. Ridgefield couldn’t recapture the mojo it had in the district title game and made enough mistakes to fall outside of the small margin for error Columbia River allows.
“We really showed up that game,” Spudders senior captain Natalie Andrew said of last Saturday’s win. “We came with the right mindset and we came ready to win. We decided to go after it and give it our all. Unfortunately, tonight we didn’t come with that same mindset or energy. River’s our best competition and we’re grateful to play against them.”
The Rapids jumped to a 21-9 lead in the second set, eventually winning 25-11.
After winning the third set 25-16, Columbia River’s players mobbed each other on the court. After accepting the state championship trophy, they sang a loud rendition of the school’s fight song in front of parents and students who made the 190-mile trip.
“We know that being back-to-back state champs is not easy,” Smedley said. “We had a target on our back the entire season and they welcomed that challenge.”
Camas’ season ends against Curtis
Camas fell short of a Class 4A trophy, falling to Curtis 3-0 in the fifth-place semifinal.
In a rematch of last weekend’s bi-district third-place match, which Curtis won 3-1, the Vikings of University Place won the first two sets 25-17 and 25-23.
Looking to extend the match, No. 9 seed Camas led 24-22 in the third set. But No. 5 Curtis came up with crucial digs and prevailed 27-25.
Kendall Mairs had 12 kills and 11 digs to lead Camas, the 4A GSHL champion that finishes the season 18-5. Halle Reiter had 15 digs while Avery Walunas had five blocks.