Defending state champion Capital High School rallied from a shocking state semifinals loss to Mount Spokane to claim third place at the Class 3A state volleyball tournament Saturday at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
The Cougars (20-1) toppled Ferndale easily in the third-place match, winning in straight sets of 25-14, 25-15 and 25-13.
There was no letdown after the disappointing semifinals loss just a few hours earlier.
“That is definitely the way we wanted to finish,” Capital coach Katie Turcotte said. “We wanted to go out and play and have fun together.
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“Our focus for this last match was to go out and honor the opportunity to get to play one more time as this team. Just go, play loose and have fun.”
And that’s what the Cougars did.
“I think our emotions were really positive,” Turcotte continued. “They never felt tense like, “Oh, we’ve got to do this.’ It was really just a nice, smooth steady ride through that last match.”
In the semifinals, Capital looked like a state finalist in the first set against a Mount Spokane team that hasn’t lost since August.
But, the Cougars then fell apart amid a flurry miscues, every one of which the Wildcats seemed to make them pay for in the four-set match, which Mount Spokane won handily by scores of 15-25, 25-19, 25-12 and 25-18.
“Unfortunately, that was a game of our unforced errors,” Turcotte said. “We played our game in the first set, and the next three was about us making some unforced errors, and not playing normal Capital Cougar volleyball.
“We knew we were going to have a challenge and we knew we would have to battle through it. Unfortunately, we didn’t do ourselves any favors. The girls set a goal at the beginning of the season to have a top-three finish at state.”
Capital made the most of that chance.
In 4A, Olympia (14-11) split on the second day, taking home the sixth-place trophy after sweeping Puyallup in a loser-out match (25-20, 25-12, 25-22), and then losing in the trophy match to Tahoma (25-15, 25-14, 25-19) in straight sets.
It is the fourth trophy win for Olympia since 2010.
The Bears, who made a late push after finishing in sixth place in the 4A SPSL this season, had a simple plan coming to Yakima — take home a trophy.
“I told them all year that if we can win the serve and receive battle then we can (play) with almost anybody,” Olympia coach Laurie Creighton said. “We came here to try and take home some hardware. That’s what we did.“