Two loud student sections chanting at each other across a crowded gym.
Two of the state’s top college-bound volleyball players.
Two teams that have clashed in the past two Class 2A state championship matches.
There’s no volleyball event in Southwest Washington quite like when Columbia River and Ridgefield have faced off in recent years.
Monday, Columbia River showed why the two-time defending state champs are again ranked No. 1 in the Washington state coaches poll.
Led by 20 kills from Auburn-bound senior Lauren Dreves, the Rapids swept the No. 3-ranked Spudders (25-16, 25-23, 25-13) at Columbia River High School.
With Ridgefield winning state titles in 2018 and 2019, before COVID wiped out the 2020 season, the two teams have split the last four 2A state championships.
“Playing Ridgefield is always a blast because they play at such a high level,” said Columbia River middle blocker Logan DeJong. “It’s always competitive. The fans are a lot of fun. The energy was great.”
But the win wasn’t easy. Stanford-bound senior Lizzy Andrew and Ridgefield had River on its heels in the second set, leading 19-12 and then 23-19.
But for a team that rarely finds itself trailing, Columbia River handled adversity like a pro. The Rapids (7-0) won six straight points to end the set.
“The game is never over until it hits 25,” said Rapids outside hitter Sydney Dreves. “I think our team did a very good job of that tonight. We stayed composed and held ourselves together to come back.”
Sydney Dreves, who teams with her older sister to make one of the state’s top-hitting tandems, had 10 kills and 19 digs. Libero Ellie Ogee had 18 digs and setter Macey McCoy tallied 32 assists.
“We have a lot of good things that are already here and a lot good things that just keep growing,” DeJong said. “I’m excited to see where we end up.”
Though Ridgefield (6-1) couldn’t match River on Monday, the Spudders aren’t far behind.
Whether it’s in the 2A GSHL rematch Oct. 10 at Ridgefield, the district playoffs or the state tournament, the Spudders are the only team in Class 2A that has proven its can knock off River. Ridgefield handed Columbia River its only loss last season in the District 4 championship match.
Andrew, a 6-foot-5 middle blocker, praised the work her Ridgefield teammates have done this season. It’s all part of keeping lofty standards at a program that has reached the last four Class 2A state championship matches.
“I think we appreciate playing against the really good competition and being challenged,” Andrew said. “We’re definitely going to work on a couple things and try to improve ourselves in little bits and pieces.”
Andrew finished with a team-high 14 kills. Hailey McEllrath added 10 kills and setter Callie Curran offered up 31 assists.