YAKIMA, Wash. – For the first time since 2018, the Class 3A state volleyball championship trophy will not reside in a Spokane high school’s trophy case.
Lakeside of Seattle took it to The Lilac City’s best on Friday, beating 2018 and 2019 champion Mount Spokane in a four-set semifinal before sweeping defending champ Mead in the final at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
The top-seeded Lions also won the title in 2016.
The championship is redemption for Lakeside, which also entered the 2021 tournament as the No. 1 seed but fell short of the trophy round.
“There was definitely some unfinished business,” Lions coach Jeff Kim said. “The seniors wanted it and they earned it and they played their best match in the last match of the season.”
Lakeside rode stellar serving, tight defense and the outside hitting of 12th-graders Sophie Broesamle and Yazzy Muhammad to the crown.
“This year coming together for the state tournament and having the success we did is a reward for everything we had to go through last year,” said Muhammad, who was hardly slowed by a heavily taped left knee from a late-season injury.
The 6-foot-2 standout capped her career by pounding the ball past the Panthers’ defense for two of the Lions’ final points.
“A lot of us seniors have been on the team since senior year when we weren’t that good – we barely made it to state that year,” she said. “To come in here and dominate a team like Mead was so rewarding for us.”
As if taking down the tournament favorite wasn’t a tall enough task, the Panthers – seeded No. 2 – struggled to find rhythm.
“We are kind of a middle-dominant team and if we can’t pass the ball right then we are in trouble,” Mead coach Shawn Wilson said. “And we were in trouble from the get-go once we weren’t passing the ball like we needed to.”
The Lions jumped on the Panthers in each of the three sets and never looked back. In the opener it was a 7-2 edge, then 12-7 in the second frame and – after Mead scored the first two points of the final set – Lakeside went up 12-4 in the clincher.
“We really wanted to focus on serving and defense – just a relentless attitude, going after every ball, making sure nothing drops and sacrificing your body,” Kim said.
Mead knocked off Bishop Blanchet, 25-19, 19-25, 26-24, 25-20 to reach the championship match.
The Bears, however, bounced back and battled past Mount Spokane, 17-25, 27-25, 26-25, 25-22 to take third place in a rematch of the 2016 championship.
The Wildcats’ fourth-place finish was their sixth consecutive top-five trophy.
(Featured photo by Eric Trent)