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3A-4A State Volleyball: Prairie gives top seed North Thurston all it can handle

No. 2 seed Camas falls in quarterfinals

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: November 18, 2023, 12:50am
10 Photos
Prairie's Marissa Raley sets the ball for a kill attempt by Ali Milspaugh, right, during a round of 16 match against Gig Harbor at the Class 3A state volleyball tournament on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023 in Yakima.
Prairie's Marissa Raley sets the ball for a kill attempt by Ali Milspaugh, right, during a round of 16 match against Gig Harbor at the Class 3A state volleyball tournament on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023 in Yakima. (Micah Rice/The Columbian). Photo Gallery

YAKIMA – The Prairie volleyball team might have lost a Class 3A state quarterfinal match as the clock struck midnight on Friday.

But in giving top seed North Thurston all it could handle, the Falcons further justified the high regard head coach Jen Palmer views her team.

“I will forever be on board with that team win or lose with that kind of fight,” Palmer said.

No. 8 seeded Prairie fell in four sets, but not without showing they could hang with the undefeated Rams.

After dropping the first set 25-23, the Falcons rallied from 10 points down to win the second set 27-25.

It was that kind of toughness that made Palmer the most proud of her team’s performance in the Yakima Valley SunDome.

“They didn’t give up at any moment even when we were facing a deficit of 10 or so points in set,” Palmer said. “They have kind of struggled with that throughout the season. But they found that grit and tenacity. They wanted it so bad.”

Prairie again clawed from behind in the third set, overcoming deficits of 9-4 and 17-12. After the Falcons pulled even at 23, North Thurston came up clutch and won 26-24.

The Falcons fought to the last point, staving off three match points before North Thurston took the fourth set 25-23.

A trophy is still possible for Prairie. The Falcons (19-4) face No. 12 seed Auburn Riverside in the fifth-place semifinal on Saturday morning.

In Prairie’s first match, its superior defense at the net led to a sweep of No. 9 seed Gig Harbor in the round of 16. The Falcons totaled 21 blocks with Diamond Doutrive leading the way with seven and Millspaugh getting six.

Prairie also got offense from a variety of players. Madelyn Moore, Addie Cameron and Gracie Jacoby each had seven kills as the Falcons won 25-21, 25-14, 25-17.

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Camas falls in 4A quarterfinals

Camas saw its state championship hopes dashed in the Class 4A quarterfinals wth a 3-1 loss to Lake Stevens.

The No. 2 seed Papermakers won the first set 25-23. But the No. 10 seed Vikings edged Camas in three subsequent hard-fought sets 25-21, 25-20 and 25-18.

Camas got a gritty performance from Kendall Mairs, who had 18 kills and 18 digs. The junior played despite a quad strain that led to her playing with a large wrap on her upper thigh. That came after Mairs missed time during the regular season with a hamstring injury.

Camas rolled past No. 15 seed Bellarmine Prep in the first round, 25-11, 25-12, 25-13. Thompson led the way with 15 kills, 12 digs and three aces.

The Papermakers (20-2) will face No. 6 seed Curtis in the fifth place semifinals at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Mountain View relishes state berth

Mountain View took pride in just its second state berth since 1993.

The No. 18-seed Thunder lost to No. 17 Bellevue 3-0 (25-19, 25-7, 25-15) in an elimination match to determine a spot in the round of 16.

Though the Mountain View’s stay in the 3A tournament was short-lived, head coach Jacalyn Holmes viewed a state berth as the season’s crowning accomplishment.

“I have a lot of pride in what they’ve overcome,” Holmes said. “The effort they put into this season was remarkable. I think our captains (Alexandra Ursache) and (Makena Gamby) really took it upon themselves to make sure everybody on the team has a place and a purpose.”

The Thunder (11-9) finished third in the 3A Greater St. Helens League but qualified for state with a strong bi-district tournament that saw them reach the semifinals.

Mountain View’s growth through the season meant a goal of reaching state, which once seemed out of reach, became a focus.

“I’m not gonna lie, at the beginning of the season their mental game wasn’t there,” Holmes said. “So (state) wasn’t really a priority to them. But as the season went on, their mindset changed and they started believing in themselves. It really started to become a priority of theirs.”

Holmes hopes reaching the state tournament will help the program build future success.

“We may not have a ton of girls who play club all the time,” Holmes said. “But they came together and worked hard for each other. There’s a pride in the school and in themselves and the volleyball program.”