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Grandview netters earn State berth

Begin play 9 a.m. Friday

MOXEE - After dispatching Ellensburg for the fourth time this season, the Grandview volleyball team set its sites on the District championship last Saturday during the District tourney held at East Valley High School.

The 3-1 win over Ellensburg last Saturday automatically qualified Grandview for the State 2A tournament to be staged this coming Friday and Saturday at the SunDome in Yakima.

The District title match came down to a re-match between Selah and Grandview. Just over a week ago, Grandview rallied from a game down to knock off the Vikings in regular season league play to remain undefeated and top-ranked in the state.

On Saturday, with the CWAC title and top State seeding on the line, Selah again won the first game, 25-22, but then won games two and three; 25-17, 25-18; for a three-game sweep.

Grandview's inability to rally this time, according to Coach John La Fever, had quite a bit to do with strategy changes the Vikes made since the two teams last played.

"They made some adjustments," LaFever said in Selah's strategy change, which included a difference in hitting through Grandview's outside blocker.

At the same time, LaFever said Selah simply outplayed his Lady Greyhounds.

"They did some things better than we did," he said. "We had a couple of girls that didn't play very well."

The bottom line, though, is that Grandview is back again at the State 2A tourney. Said La Fever, "You want to get there and that's the big thing."

Grandview opened the District tourney with a 30-28, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22 victory over Ellensburg. In four matches between the two teams this season, it marked the first time the Bulldogs were able to win a game.

La Fever said the tough time Grandview had in knocking off Ellensburg wasn't too surprising, given the Bulldogs' finish a year ago. "They're a good team," he said. "They were number two at the 3A State tournament last year."

For the District tourney, Grandview's Chante Bottineau set up the net attack with 72 assists to go with 11 digs and 12 service points.

Teammate Kealey Johnston knocked down a team-high 28 kills and recorded 28 blocks at Districts, and had 15 serve-receive points. Grandview's Kinzi Poteet added 21 kills and teammate Sydney Mottice hustled for 26 digs to go with 13 serve-receive points.

Bottineau and Mottice each recorded 12 service points for the tourney and Johnston had 11. Teammate Jessica Gonzalez had 11 points from behind the service line.

Grandview's record now stands at 30-1 for the season, including the lone loss to Selah in the District finals.

Despite the Greyhounds' gaudy record and ranking this season, State 2A tourney officials placed Grandview in the opening match, at 9 a.m. this Friday against Riverside from the Spokane area.

La Fever isn't too worried about the early start, though.

"That's where we were last year," he said of playing the tourney's first game in 2005.

Though Grandview will repeat history and again open the tourney, La Fever is hopeful the girls don't repeat history and lose the opener as they did last year before rallying for the fifth-place trophy.

"We'd like to win this time," La Fever said of this year's tourney opener. To do that, he said Grandview will need to adjust its defense and service game.

If Grandview wins this Friday, it will play that same day at 4 p.m. against either Mark Morris or Burlington-Edison. A loss would put the Lady 'Hounds into a consolation match at 2:15 p.m. this Friday.

La Fever said he didn't know too much about the possible second-round opponents, although Grandview did play Mark Morris at State a few years ago. He did note that Riverside "tends to rely on one big hitter."

CWAC District champ Selah plays its first State match against Eatonville at 12:30 p.m.

Ellensburg, which advanced to State with a consolation win at Districts, appears in Grandview's half of the bracket and opens against North Mason at 10:45 a.m.

If Ellensburg and Grandview win their first two matches at State, the two will face off for an incredible fifth time this season in the 2A State semifinals at 10:45 a.m. this Saturday.

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