YAKIMA - The Grandview High School volleyball team started strong this past weekend at the 2A State tournament, but a loss Saturday kept the 'Hounds out of the running for the title.
The Lady 'Hounds finished their State run with a sixth place finish, winning two of four matches.
Grandview won both of its matches Friday. The team made short work of Steilacoom, winning by scores of 25-5, 25-17, 25-6. The Lady 'Hounds also dispatched Rochester by scores of 25-18, 25-10, 25-12.
However, when the Lady 'Hounds took to the court against Meridian this past Saturday, things didn't turn out exactly how Grandview had hoped. The team lost to the eventual State titlists 19-25, 15-25, 25-13, 18-25.
Grandview Coach John LaFever said Meridian had one excellent player, who was adept with her spikes and overall net coverage.
"She was the best player at State," LaFever said of the Meridian team member.
Following the loss to Meridian, Grandview's first loss to a 2A team all year, the Lady 'Hounds weren't able to recover their composure.
"They were pretty disappointed because they lost their goal [of taking the State title]," LaFever said.
He noted that when it came time to play the last match of the tournament his team didn't have its heart in it.
"Some of them were still a little disappointed," LaFever said.
And it's that disappointment that led the Lady 'Hounds to lose their second match of the day against Kings. In the trophy round match that decided third and sixth place honors at State, Grandview was upended 25-20, 23-25, 25-15, 21-25, 11-15.
LaFever said he was a little disappointed with his team's performance against Kings, but added that he understood that this team had just seen their aspirations disappear.
"They had high aspirations and when that didn't happen, that one goal, they didn't refocus," he said.
Overall at the State tourney, staged in the Yakima SunDome, freshman Kealey Johnston had 21 kills, 7 aces, 53 service points and 113 digs. LaFever noted that Johnston did an outstanding job at State.
"She was probably the best all around player on the team," he said.
Also helping the 'Hounds were senior Danelle Cowan with 57 kills, 12 blocks, 5 aces and 34 service points, senior Valentina Solis with 50 kills, 9 aces, 34 service points and 14 blocks, senior Mari Cornejo with 12 kills, 6 blocks and 5 assists, junior Angie Cabrera with 5 kills and 64 digs, setter Chante Bottineau with 121 assists, 39 digs, 3 kills and 3 aces, Tonhya Wysong with 147 digs and Jessica Gonzalez with 4 service points and 3 digs.
Overall, LaFever said he was happy with his team's performance, noting that this marks the fifth time in the last seven years that the volleyball team has brought a trophy back from the State tournament.
Looking back at the season, LaFever said his team did well and he is looking forward to next year. He said he expects the Lady 'Hounds to be a highly competitive team in 2005.