KENNEWICK - The Grandview High School volleyball team's win at the 2A State tourney last Friday was a battle worthy of a championship match.
The Lady Greyhounds' 3-0 win over Burlington-Edison, though, came in the fourth-place contest. The Tigers took home the seventh place trophy.
"Early on, that's the team I actually figured we might face in the finals," Grandview Coach John LaFever said of the pesky Tigers.
Grandview, 33-3, entered the tournament ranked number one among 2A teams, and Burlington-Edison was fourth. Both saw their title hopes dashed in last Thursday's quaterfinals.
The Lady Greyhounds may have won in three straight over Burlington-Edison, but the 3-0 outcome was deceiving as Grandview held on by scores of 26-24, 27-25, 25-21.
"It was a pretty good match," LaFever said of the Tigers, whose only other loss in the tourney was to eventual champion Selah. "They keep things very close. That's kind of the way they play."
LaFever said neither team led by more than two or three points during the match. Grandview took care of game one, as Vanessa Medina served back-to-back points to break out of a 24-24 deadlock.
"It was very close all the way," said LaFever. "We just pushed ahead at the very end."
The contest likely turned for good in Grandview's direction after the Lady Greyhounds rallied from a late two-point deficit to take the second game.
For the match, Medina had 10 service points, while Raissa Licano and Jessica Gonzalez tallied seven points each behind the service line.
But it was at the net where Grandview had the greatest advantage.
"The biggest difference in the match is that we were able to feature our middle," LaFever said of a front line that slammed 36 kills against the Tigers, 16 of them by Kinzi Poteet. "We were able to control the middle."
Knowing they had little chance to stop Grandview at the net, the Tigers only had one player up front challenging the Lady Greyhounds' big hitters and positioned their other players to dig up Grandview's shots.
"On defense they blocked with only one person and tried to dig everything up, they have a good defense," said LaFever.
Licano and Christine Penwell each had eight blocks for Grandview, while teammates Katie Veloz and Kealey Johnston had 18 and 15 passes, respectively.
Medina dished out 34 assists for the match.
The fourth-place hardware wrapped up a stellar three years for the Grandview program, as seniors Johnston, Jessica Gonzalez, Veloz, Licano and Christine Penwell helped the Lady Greyhounds to a combined record of 9-3 at State for fifth, second and fourth-place finishes.
The coach did praise the girls' pluck at rebounding to claim fourth-place honors last week and finish among the top half of the tourney field. "They did a pretty good job," LaFever said.
Grandview loses five seniors, but has hope for 2008 as juniors Sydney Mottice and the all-everything Poteet return to lead the Lady Greyhounds.
So can Grandview reload for another shot at the State tourney?
"We'd like to try," says LaFever. "That would be the idea."