“Close” doesn’t do it justice.
Tumwater High School could have kept its bid for a second consecutive 2A state volleyball championship alive in Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion on Friday night, taking a two-point lead in the fourth set while leading two sets to one.
But No. 2 Burlington-Edison rallied to claim the fourth, 28-26, then won another overtime set, 16-14, to win a grueling five-set battle and advance to the semifinals.
“We knew it was going to be a good match and it could have gone either way,” said Tumwater coach Tana Otton. “We fought the whole way.”
The third-seeded Thunderbirds will now meet White River in a consolation bracket game Saturday at 11 a.m., while the Tigers move on to face Woodland at 1 p.m.
With sophomore outside hitter Kennedy Croft extending her own single-match record for kills to 31, Tumwater led 2-1 after three sets and took a 23-21 lead in the fourth only to see the Tigers’ Alana Handy — whose stats were off the charts with 47 kills and 28 digs — score on a soft cross-court shot and an ace to tie it at 23 and give her team a chance to finish off the set.
In the fifth, Tumwater came out sluggish and went down by three twice, the second time at 10-13, but bounced back to tie it at 13 and again at 14 as Croft scored three of the T-Birds’ final four points. But Handy found an open spot and Carly Watson then left no doubt on the Tigers’ final point.
The Tigers came out aggressively and won the first game behind the hot hitting of Handy, but the T-Birds led by as many as nine points in leveling the match with their second-set win.
The third set was extended when Tumwater couldn’t hold a 24-22 lead set up by a tie-breaking diving dig by Maddy Pilon and a kill by Croft. The T-Birds broke a 26-26 tie, though, on a block by Brooke Hare and a wide shot by the Tigers’ Watson to take a 2-1 lead.
Pilon had a match-high 45 assists for Tumwater, while Cristina Hegarty had 23 digs and Jaeya Reed contributed 17 kills, four aces and nine digs.
Faced with the reality that a second championship is out of their grasp won’t deter Tumwater on Saturday, Otton said.
“Our girls have had their hearts set on one thing all season,” she said. “But we’re still going to come out tomorrow and play like we’re playing for the state title.”
On the other side of the bracket, Ridgefield knocked off top-seeded Archbishop Murphy in four sets, 14-25, 26-24, 25-14, 25-21, and advanced to face Ellensburg at 1 p.m.
In their first match of the day, the T-Birds breezed past Franklin Pierce in straight sets, 25-11, 25-13, 25-10. Tumwater scored the first 10 points in each of the second and third sets.
Croft led the T-Birds with 28 kills. Pilon had 43 assists and Hegarty 10 digs. Reed had a typically well-rounded game with four aces, six kills and eight digs.