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March 2, 2024

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2A State Volleyball: Columbia River’s polish, Ridgefield’s grit lead to semifinal berths

Spudders survive five-set quarterfinal against Ellensburg

By , Columbian Sports Editor
Published:
3 Photos
Ridgefield's Lizzy Andrew hits a spike during a first-round match in the Class 2A state volleyball tournament against Ephrata on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023 in Yakima. The 6-foot-5 senior has committed to play at Stanford.
Ridgefield's Lizzy Andrew hits a spike during a first-round match in the Class 2A state volleyball tournament against Ephrata on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023 in Yakima. The 6-foot-5 senior has committed to play at Stanford. (Micah Rice/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

YAKIMA – One showed the polish and professionalism of a state champion.

The other showed championship-caliber grit.

Columbia River and Ridgefield both reached the semifinals of the Class 2A state volleyball tournament on Friday. It’s possible the two powerhouses could meet in the state championship match for a third straight year.

Undefeated and top-seeded Columbia River looked the role of a team chasing its third consecutive state title.

The Rapids rolled in straight sets through No. 8 Pullman in the semifinals (25-13, 25-20, 25-11). That came after River swept No. 16 Fife in the first round (25-12, 25-18, 25-9).

Ridgefield had a more exciting day at the Yakima Valley SunDome. The No. 6-seeded Spudders edged No. 3 Ellensburg in five sets to reach the semifinals.

Experience, grit and a big-time performance from its biggest player saw Ridgefield survive. Lizzy Andrew had 47 kills and six stuff blocks in the quarterfinal victory.

Seven of those kills came in the fifth set, which Ridgefield won 15-11.

“We definitely rely on Lizzy quite a bit,” said Ridgefield senior Hailey McEllrath. “I mean, she’s a six-foot-five Stanford commit.”

Ridgefield (17-4) showed resilience in both of its wins on Friday. The Spudders dropped the first set before beating No. 11 Ephrata in the first round (21-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-18). They also faced a 1-0 deficit against Ellensburg.

Andrew said the team shifts gears mentally when playing from behind.

“We were like, you know what, it’s state,” Andrew said. “All we can do is our best and give our heart out there. That’s what we did.”

After losing the first set 25-14, the Spudders took the next two 25-23 and 25-11 against an Ellensburg team that hadn’t lost since its season-opening match.

After Ellensburg rebounded to take the fourth set 25-16, the Spudders once again found their resiliency tested. That will again be the case Saturday, when Ridgefield faces No. 2 seed Lynden (21-1) in the semifinals at 10:45 a.m.

“I’m just so proud of this team,” McEllrath said. “We fought so hard today. We just really came through with our energy.”

While Ridgefield also beat Ellensburg in last year’s quarterfinals, Columbia River gets a repeat of its semifinal match last year against No. 4 Burlington-Edison (21-2).

Though the goal is nothing shy of a third straight state title, the Rapids dominated so thoroughly on Friday because they weren’t looking ahead.

“Our mantra today was just one point at a time,” junior outside hitter Sidney Dreves said. “We take one moment at a time. One pass at a time, one set at a time, one hit at a time.”

Senior setter Macey McCoy said that as the stakes rise, so must Columbia River’s play to win a championship.

“It’s honestly going to take so much energy and team chemistry,” McCoy said. “Obviously I think we can do it. But I honestly think it’s going to take a lot of our teamwork.”

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