Blazers take home seventh place, finish historic season 21-1

3A volleyball: Timberline earns 3A state trophy in three years

mwochnick@theolympian.comNovember 17, 2013 

LACEY – The Timberline Blazers’ dream of a deep state run might’ve been detailed after a first-round sweep of eventual state finalist Holy Names at this weekend’s Class 3A state volleyball tournament, but what’s been a season of firsts this season – its first undefeated regular-season and first district title – happened again Saturday night when the Blazers earned the program’s best state finish.

After a 3-1 (25-13, 16-26, 25-13, 27-25 win over Kennedy Catholic, the seventh-place trophy is the program’s second state trophy, joining the eighth-place trophy from 2011.

For the seniors – Riley Podowicz, Hunter Manke, Melissa Pittelkau and Kori Tucker – they exit their high school careers as two-time state trophy winners.

“If you would’ve told me four years ago that this is how it would end, I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Pittelkau, who finished with seven kills and seven digs. “I am so proud of how much we accomplished here as a team. We’re more than a team here. We’re family.”

Podowicz, who had 11 kills, five blocks and 24 digs, echoed a similar statement.

“Coming in as freshmen, we knew we had the chance to do something special here,” said Podowicz, who will play volleyball at Alaska-Fairbanks next year. “We just worked hard and improved every year because we wanted to leave our footprint on Timberline volleyball.”

The road to a state trophy wasn’t easy. After Friday’s loss to Holy Names, the Blazers defeated University in four sets, then Prairie in five in consecutive loser-out matches. And it looked like its trophy match with Kennedy was on its way to a fifth set, too. With Timberline leading two sets to none and holding a 17-9 fourth-set lead, Kennedy ran off 11 unanswered points and took a 20-17 lead following back-to-back kills by Apryll Eneliko.

But the Blazers were ready to end it in four. While they trailed 22-20 and 23-21, junior Molly Emmons, who finished with six kills and three blocks, came up clutch down the stretch. Her kill on the right side broke a 25-all tie, then she followed it up with a match-clinching kill.

The 21-1 overall record, including an 18-0 mark entering the state tournament, is also the best finish in school history.

“At 21-1,” Blazers coach Krista Manke said, “you have to feel good about that.”

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service