LACEY — As good as the Timberline High volleyball team is, a big step toward a successful season includes wins over its rivals.
The Blazers did it in convincing fashion twice this season against the North Thurston Rams, the reigning 3A state runners-up.
And already having clinched the 3A Narrows League volleyball title last week regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, the host Blazers did what no other team in program history did after their 25-22, 25-14, 25-15 sweep of North Thurston – have an undefeated regular-season.
Timberline didn’t drop a set during 3A Narrows play on their way to a 12-0 mark, including a three-set sweep (all by 25-15 scores) of North Thurston when they met on the Rams’ home court on Oct. 3, and also won both its nonleague contests.
The only time the team went past three sets was a nonleague five-set match against Capital on Sept. 17, winning the match after trailing by two sets.
Both Timberline and North Thurston are postseason bound. The 3A Narrows tournament, in conjunction with the 4A Narrows event, is Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School.
As the No. 1 seed and league champion, Timberline (14-0 overall) gets an automatic bye into the tournament title match at 4 p.m., while North Thurston (12-3, 9-3) is the No. 2 or 3 seed; the Rams finished league play tied with Shelton at 9-3. The top four teams advance to next week’s West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament.
On a night where the Blazers honored their four seniors – Riley Podowicz, Melissa Pittelkau, Hunter Manke and Kori Tucker – they finished off the Rams in a swift 1 hour, 7 minutes, getting a match-high 12 kills and four serving aces from junior outside hitter Emily Tate, and eight kills, two blocks and three serving aces from middle hitter Podowicz.
Podowicz, who has orally committed to play volleyball at Alaska-Fairbanks next fall, said there’s still lots of growing to do for the Blazers.
“I definitely think we’ve had moments where we’ve showed a lot of potential,” Podowicz said, “but we have a lot more to show.”
The Blazers prevented the Rams from getting close in late-set situations – after North Thurston trailed 20-17 in the first set – by cruising to leads of 9-2 and 12-3 in sets two and three.
Unforced errors serving and at the net contributed to the Rams’ troubles. They committed 11 hitting errors in the final two sets.
“We tried to change some things up ... We put up a good block against them and slowed down some of their balls,” Rams coach Jackie Meyer said.
“They played some high competitive volleyball tonight.”
Katie Sisson led the Rams with four kills seven assists, and Liz Colon had five serving aces to go along with 10 digs.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/south-sound-sports-blog @megwochnick