YAKIMA, Wash. -- Playing volleyball at 8 a.m. can be a shock to one’s system. Then again, so can losing your first match after 17 wins, and especially in a five-game marathon.
But third-ranked Sunnyside Christian weathered both of those storms Friday in the Class 1B state volleyball tournament in the SunDome, and later in the day staged an inspired performance in a 3-1 loser-out victory over Moses Lake Christian.
Klickitat’s first-round loss was neither as early nor as drawn-out, but the Vandals also responded impressively in their loser-or-go-home matchup with Rainier Christian, winning 3-1.
“Yes, losing this morning was very difficult,” said SC coach Stephanie Dalrymple, whose team fell 24-26, 25-15, 29-27, 12-25, 15-12 to No. 6 Almira/Coulee-Hartline. “Then after we lost the first game of our next match, I just told the girls that we all want to be playing tomorrow, and if they really want to do play tomorrow they’d better step up and play like it.”
Which the Knights did, prevailing 18-25, 25-8, 27-25, 25-21. Sunnyside Christian has another morning match today, albeit at 9 a.m., against
Klickitat, which lost 25-10, 25-16, 25-17 to No. 7 Pomeroy, rebounded by beating RC of Auburn 18-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-21. The Vandals meet Quilcene at 9 a.m. today.
Victories by both teams would put them opposite each other in a 3 p.m. duel for seventh and eighth places.
“In our match this morning, we weren’t attacking at all,” Vandals coach Jaecee Hoctor said. “Then we got off to a slow start in this match, and I said, ‘Our goal is to get a trophy. So if you want to get a trophy, you’ll have to get things turned around and start firing.”
Tamaira Huffsmith, a junior middle hitter, was especially effective, totaling 23 kills. She pounded down point for 16-15 lead in the fourth game, then served for three consecutive points and a 20-16 advantage.
“The biggest thing was we just started communicating each other,” Huffsmith said. “We started having each other’s backs.”
SC won its second match despite losing sophomore Katelyn Banks to an injury during the third game. Banks appeared to have hurt the area around her left eye when she dove for a ball in front of the net.
“There’s no concussion, which is good, but she does have a nice goose egg there,” said senior standout Stormee Van Belle, who totaled 14 kills, 21 digs and three blocks. “What got us going in that second game was we all try to lead by action, and when someone starts to do good things we all get going.”
Van Belle, also a basketball standout, plans to continue her hoops career next year at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
Sunnyside Christian highlights vs. Almira/Coulee-Hartline: Stormee Van Belle 14 kills, 21 digs, 3 blocks; Brittany Broersma 13 kills, 11 digs, 2 blocks; Aydan Harrington 15 assists, 2 digs; Kate Newhouse 5 kills, 25 digs, 2 blocks; Annie Brouwer 19 digs, 2 kills, 2 aces.
Sunnyside Christian highlights vs. Moses Lake Christian: Van Belle 10 kills, 7 digs; Brouwer 7 kills, 13 digs; Broersma 7 kills; Newhouse 4 kills, 18 digs; Harrington 15 assists; McKenzie Benjert 14 assists.
Klickitat highlights vs. Rainier Christian: Tamaira Huffsmith 23 kills; Nicolle Oldfield 9 kills; Barbara Schlangen 10 kills; KyAnn Kessinger 21 assists; Mackenzie Tuthill 24 assists.