Volleyball heads to state for first time in 20 years

By Oliver Lazenby

Blaine High School volleyball won two out of three games at the 2A district ½ tournament at Sammamish High School last week, securing a trip to the state tournament for the first time
in 20 years.

Blaine lost the championship game to Lynden, but just making it to the tournament finals gives Blaine good odds against the 15 other teams in the state tournament next weekend, as the top four teams from each of the four divisions go to state.

“I want them to understand that making it to state is a huge accomplishment for them and our school and community,” said Blaine head coach Jacquie Wilskey. “I think we just need to be confident and know that we can compete with the teams’ we’ll be playing next.”

The state tournament takes place on  Friday, November 9 and continues through November 10.

Blaine’s playoff momentum started with a come-from-behind 3–2 victory against Archbishop Murphy, which set the tone for the rest of the tournament, Wilskey said. Blaine, plagued by errors, lost the first two sets of that game.

“Going into the third set we had the it’s-now-or-never talk,” Wilskey said. “We had nothing to lose, we needed to play our game and turn things around. They went out there and just killed it. They took charge.”

Tied 2–2, the fifth set (which is played to 15 points rather than 25, like the first four) started out back-and-forth. But Archbishop Murphy rallied and took an 11–6 lead. After Blaine forced a turnover, sophomore Mia Scheepens’ consistent serves propelled Blaine to a 15–11 win.

“We came from behind in all aspects of that match,” Wilskey said. “The momentum was totally on our side after that. They were up, they were energized and feeling confident.”

In a second game that day, the Borderites dominated Liberty in three sets to earn a spot in the district championship game against Lynden.

Though Lynden won the championship game with set scores of 25–15, 27–25 and 25–20, Blaine put up a fight, especially in the second set. The Borderites were ahead 25–24 when they turned the ball over, allowing Lynden to score the winning points. Had Blaine won that set, Wilskey thinks it could have been a turning point in the championship game.

“After losing that close set we just couldn’t recover,” she said.

Blaine’s next opponent, White River High School, had a 9–5 overall record in the regular season and is the fourth-seed from its conference; Blaine is the second-seed and finished it’s regular season 8–6 overall.

Blaine plays White River at 9 a.m. on Friday, November 9 at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. The Borderites will play at least one other game in the state tournament.

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