Sports

With help, Marysville-Pilchuck volleyball is going to state

MARYSVILLE — An upset was brewing as M-P volleyball took on Snohomish in the district semifinals Nov. 15.

The Tomahawks had narrowly lost to Snohomish in a preseason match at the beginning of their calendar, and then again late in the season with district seeds on the line.

But that wasn’t the upset.

As Snohomish called timeouts in games two and three, trying to turn around a game that would eventually eliminate the Panthers in straight sets, the Tomahawk volleyball team couldn’t help stealing glances over at the other court where a Kamiak-Stanwood match was creating quite a stir.

The winner of M-P-Snohomish would face the winner of that game for a trip to state, and the Tomahawks certainly had a horse in that race. The Tommies lost their opening bout with Kamiak 25-19, 19-25, 19-25, 20-25 three days earlier. Although each game of that meeting had been close enough to swing either way, it was clear M-P preferred a Stanwood challenge.

And as the Stanwood base cheered every late point — the Spartans won games two, three and five in extra points — it seemed to energize the Tomahawks in their own game against Snohomish.

Ultimately, after falling to Kamiak Nov. 12, the Tomahawks marched on through the consolation bracket, defeating Arlington, Snohomish and Stanwood en route to a trip to the state volleyball tournament in Kennewick Nov. 21. They did so looking like a state team, defeating all three opponents in the minimum three games.

While senior Jenna Welsh led the offense against Kamiak with 13 kills — “She just does so well it gets predictable,” said coach Shelly Johnson — the Tomahawks underwent some cosmetic changes as they took on Snohomish and Stanwood. Longtime Tomahawk libero Jade Thompson shed her reverse-color jersey for the game as libero-of-the-future Katie Peterson took over in the back court. Thompson moved up to play outside hitter and she, along with a feisty Emily Boerger, proved a handful to the Snohomish defense, taking some of the focus off Welsh and freeing the senior to have an even bigger performance — 15 kills, matched by Boerger — in fewer games.

In Boerger’s honor, the girls drew small hamburgers on their right calves, where the senior middle has the image tattooed.

“We decided last week we wanted to do something for our big middle who carried us through this season,” said team co-captain Thompson.

“I didn’t know,” Boerger said of the planned tribute. “They all took off their warm-up pants and surprised me.”

The girls defeated Snohomish 26-24, 25-21, 25-21. Fresh off that win and rested, M-P handled Stanwood 25-19, 25-15, 25-18.

Marysville faces Curtis Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. on Court 2 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. The girls are guaranteed two games.

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