Sports

Marysville-Pilchuck volleyball surprises at state

Tomahawk wrestler Cole Cushing, top, is one of eight wrestlers with varsity experience back for another season. Setter Brittany Fitzmaurice, left, and hitter Emily Boerger celebrate the team’s opening-round win over Curtis. - DANIELLE SZULCZEWSKI Sports Reporter Photo courtesy CHRIS CULL
Tomahawk wrestler Cole Cushing, top, is one of eight wrestlers with varsity experience back for another season. Setter Brittany Fitzmaurice, left, and hitter Emily Boerger celebrate the team’s opening-round win over Curtis.
— image credit: DANIELLE SZULCZEWSKI Sports Reporter Photo courtesy CHRIS CULL

Marysville-Pilchuck volleyball might have surprised some observers by qualifying for this year’s state tournament, but that wasn’t the last surprise up their sleeves.

The Tomahawks stormed into Kennewick’s Toyota Center Nov. 21, pulling off an upset victory in their opening match against No. 1-seed Curtis. Playing a nearly flawless game, the Tomahawks defeated Curtis 24-26, 29-27, 20-25, 25-22, 15-12, ushering that team into the consolation bracket, where they went on to win the rest of their matches and place fifth in the tournament.

M-P coach Shelly Johnson credited a 100 percent serving effort by the girls for their first-round win.

“It was one of those matches where we put the whole tournament schedule out of whack, we had long rallies,” she said. “We felt really good about that.”

The win sent the girls into a match the same afternoon against Skyview, a team that had ended the regular season ranked No. 6 in the state polls and with an unblemished record. It took the team a couple of games to pick up Skyview’s rhythm, but M-P forced an epic third game before falling in that set for a 25-19, 25-16, 34-32 loss. While games are usually won at 25 points, it must be won by a two-point margin.

“The nice thing about my team was they played with a lot of enthusiasm, battled. In the third game, they went all the way to 34-32,” Johnson said, adding, “I’ve never had a game go that long. That was pretty impressive.”

The loss sent Marysville into the consolation bracket against Kentwood, projected No. 4 at the end of the season. Like Skyview, the Tommies caught onto Kentwood’s game by the third set, forcing extra points. While the girls matched Kentwood’s tempo, they ultimately fell in three games, 25-14, 25-18, 27-25. The girls were one win short of placing at state.

Ultimately, the teams Marysville played finished third (Skyview), fourth (Kentwood) and fifth in the tournament. Johnson was pleased with the effort.

“I thought that the state tournament was a pretty impressive performance by my team,” she said.

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