OLYMPIA — The annual Capitol City Volleyball Invitational provides plenty of incentive for the Burlington-Edison Tigers to make the long drive down from Skagit County every year.
It’s more than capturing the tournament title — like the Tigers did Saturday at Olympia High School, defeating Capital 25-22, 25-20 in the title match — they also relish tuning up for competition they’ll likely face again in the postseason.
“That’s why we’re really excited to come to this tournament,” Burlington-Edison coach Tawnya Brewer said. “For us, the best 2As are here and we wanted to see how we fare against them. To win a tournament like that is a big deal.”
Maggie McTaggart had a match-high 17 kills and Alyssa Terwilliger chipped in eight in the title match, giving the Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A coaches’ rankings, to its second Capitol City title in three years.
McTaggart and Terwilliger were also named to the coaches’ all-tournament team, which also included Capital’s Rachel Erickson and Marissa Ottesen, Olympia’s Rachel Kelson and Hannah Adams, and Tumwater's Kaylene Glasgo.
The last time Burlington-Edison won at Capitol City was 2011, defeating Olympia in the title match. The Tigers went on to win the Class 2A state title a month later.
On Saturday, the Tigers met two 2A Evergreen Conference foes and two other 2A teams ranked in the top five on its path to the tournament title. They rallied to beat Tumwater in three sets (25-27, 25-17, 17-15) in the semifinals, a match Brewer labeled as a breakthrough for her team.
“Tumwater was relentless on defense,” she said. “To be able to come back after being down against them, it showed that this team has really grown a lot since last year and they have that mental toughness, something that we’ve been working so hard to find. It’s exciting to know that
will carry us through, hopefully through the postseason, too.”
Besides Burlington-Edison, three of the final four teams in the championship bracket had a local flavor – Tumwater, Capital and Olympia. In its semifinal, Capital battled back to top Olympia in three sets (29-31, 25-16, 17-15) to advance to its first tournament title match since 2010, defeating a Bears team that had beaten the Cougars in their season-opener in September.
The Cougars took early leads in both sets — 6-3 in the first set and 7-4 in the second — only to see Burlington-Edison come up with clutch plays to take command in both frames at the midway point. In the second set, with the Tigers leading 19-16, McTaggart, who had 21 kills in the semifinal win over Tumwater, and Terwilliger accounted for four straight points (three kills, ace) to take a 22-17 advantage over the Cougars.
“They’re a very savvy team,” Capital coach Natalie Rhodes said. “They mix up their shots really well. We just ran out of gas.”
Erickson had five of her 40 kills in the all-day, 16-team tournament in the title match, while Ottesen had 10 digs (56 on the day). Setter Sam Yorke had 26 assists (98 total).
Rhodes said her team made positive gains in its first action since dropping a five-set loss to Tumwater in league play Tuesday.
“It was a good day,” she said.
Saint Martin’s 3, Simon Fraser 0: Behind a .304 hitting percentage, the Saints notched their second volleyball victory in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play Saturday night, sweeping the Clan in Lacey.
Kyra Davidson led all hitters with 12 kills and Kristyn Ross had 11. The Saints improve to 2-5 in GNAC play and 6-13 overall.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/ south-sound-sports-blog @megwochnick