AUBURN — The magic of Hunter Manke helped 3A Narrows League champion Timberline defeat South Puget Sound League champion Auburn Mountainview for the Class 3A West Central/Southwest District volleyball title Saturday at Auburn Mountainview High School.
With their 25-18, 18-25, 25-21, 25-13 victory, the Blazers earned their first bidistrict championship and a No. 1 seed heading into next weekend’s state tournament at Saint Martin’s University.
Manke, the Blazers’ setter and the daughter of coach Krista Manke, was a constant force. Not once could Auburn Mountainview predict her pattern as she set up teammates Riley Podowicz and Emily Tate.
“(Hunter’s) just amazing in how she creates chances for us,” Podowicz said. “She communicates so well out there and knows where to go with the pass.”
In the third set, Manke kept funneling her passes toward Podowicz, but after two consecutive blocks by the Lions’ defenders, Manke decided to work her magic.
On the next serve, Manke (39 assists, five kills, 10 digs) eye-balled Podowicz on the outside. She then shot a no-look pass over her head and behind her towards Tate for the kill.
“I just tried to put the shot where they weren’t, and Hunter’s pass was right there for me to hammer,” Tate said.
Tate’s power kill gave Timberline all the momentum while taking the energy out of Auburn Mountainview.
“This whole time … this whole tournament we’ve just been hitting our peak,” Hunter Manke said. “I’ve never seen our team this excited, this amazing before. We’re definitely coming together.”
If the Blazers (18-0) are peaking now, then Timberline will be a very scary opponent at state.
The Blazers have lost two sets this season, both in the bidistrict tournament.
“It’s just amazing … We’ve worked hard, and I think that the motto for us is to stick together and move as one unit,” Krista Manke said. “If we do that, we play lights out.”
Timberline defeated Prairie, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18, in the semifinals. Auburn Mountainview received the No. 2 seed entering the state tournament.
North Thurston, Shelton eliminated: Enumclaw eliminated North Thurston, last year’s Class 3A state runner-up, in three sets. Shelton topped Narrows League foe Mount Tahoma, 3-2, but fell to Mountain View of Vancouver, 3-1.
Olympia 1, Puyallup 0 (3-1 shootout): For the second time in as many games at the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament, the Bears needed penalty kicks after a scoreless 80 minutes and two 5-minute overtimes.
They secured their first state berth since 2008 with the win over the Vikings at Art Crate Stadium at Bethel.
The Bears (13-2-2) face Edmonds-Woodway, the top seed from District I, on Tuesday or Wednesday in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.
Bonney Lake 1, Timberline 0: The Panthers shut out the Blazers in a winner-to-state, loser-out game at Highline Memorial Stadium. The 3A Narrows League champion Blazers finish their best season since 1991 at 11-4-2.
Hockinson 4, Capital 1: Rylee Seekins scored all four of the Hawks’ goals at Battle Ground Stadium as they secured the 2A District IV’s third and final state berth. Chloe Lamenzo’s goal in the 16th minute gave Capital a 1-0 lead, but the Cougars finished their season 12-7-1.Staff writer Meg Wochnick contributed to this report.