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Lady Knights make history by snaring school's first ever State volleyball tourney trophy

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Assistant Coach Stephanie Greydanus (facing camera) and head coach Tammy Bangs embrace after the Lady Knights knocked off the North Sound Christian Lions last Friday morning to earn a spot in the 1B State tourney trophy round.

YAKIMA - The trophy case at Sunnyside Christian High School is filled to the brim with State basketball tournament trophies. They'll have to be bunched a bit tighter together to make room for the school's first ever State volleyball tourney trophy, snagged last Friday by second year Coach Tammy Bangs and her Lady Knights.

"The girls enjoyed the challenge and were not at all disappointed with taking home an eighth place finish," said Bangs.

"This is the first trophy to come home in the history of volleyball at Sunnyside Christian.

"The girls deserve to be proud of themselves," Bangs said.

After splitting a pair of matches to open the 1B State tourney in the Yakima SunDome last Thursday, the Lady Knights delivered in a big way Friday morning. Facing the North Sound Christian Lions in a loser-out match, with the winner earning the right to advance to the trophy round, Sunnyside Christian won in three straight games.

"The girls played an outstanding match," said Bangs. "They really came together as a team and got the job done," Bangs said of her club's 25-20, 25-19, 25-20 victory over the Lions.

As much of a team effort as it was in knocking off North Sound Christian to assure themselves of a State trophy, it was the play of Bangs' daughter that got the Lady Knights over the hump against the Lions. Sunnyside Christian began falling behind the Lions in game two, but the Lady Knights rallied behind junior Abby Bangs' 11 consecutive service points. During that stretch, senior Andrea Schutt and junior Melanie Van Wingerden combined for 10 kills to help put the Lions away.

In game three against North Sound Christian, the SCHS coach brought in sophomore Kathleen Dolan off the bench to give the club some help in the back row.

"She really stepped it up and did a great job on defense," said Bangs, noting that Dolan finished with one defensive dig and three perfect passes in game three.

The junior Bangs, the team's primary setter, collected a match best 28 assists against the Lions while going 21-for-23 from the service line.

At the net against North Sound Christian, Schutt notched a team best 16 kills and two blocks to go along with her 20 perfect passes and two ace serves; while Van Wingerden added seven kills and seven perfect passes. Also for Sunnyside Christian, senior Emma Newhouse tallied four kills at the net and was credited with 16 perfect passes, sophomore Joleen Van Wingerden was 7-for-8 from the service line and had four kills, and sophomore Hilari Bosma successfully put 6-of-7 serves into play while totaling two defensive digs and six perfect passes.

In Friday evening's trophy round game for fifth and eighth place honors, Sunnyside Christian ran into a buzz-saw in the likes of senior Kaprina Goodwin. The 6-1 middle hitter/blocker for the Northport Mustangs was unstoppable at the net, and had a jump serve that proved extremely challenging for the Lady Knights.

"We were taken back by the incredible talent of Goodwin," said Bangs. "We had not come across that caliber of a player and had a tough time making the necessary adjustments to try and defend her."

The end result was a 25-19, 25-12, 25-15 victory by the Mustangs.

Despite sustaining the loss, several of the Lady Knights put up some pretty decent numbers, especially from the service line. Combining to go 36-for-40 in serving the ball were Newhouse, Bangs, the younger Van Wingerden, Bosma and the older Van Wingerden, who had a team high 10 service points.

Schutt and Newhouse also had seven and four kills, respectively, in the loss to Northport, and Bangs tallied 13 assists and had a team best three defensive digs.

Enroute to capturing the first ever State volleyball tourney trophy in school history, the Lady Knights compiled an overall record of 14-10 in 2007.

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