YAKIMA - The Sunnyside Christian Lady Knights brought home the 1B eighth place trophy from the State volleyball tournament this past weekend.
The Lady Knights had to contend not only with their opponents, but also the difficult court layout of the tournament.
Sunnyside Christian first faced off against Thorp on Friday morning. The 1B teams were placed on the center courts in a layout of six courts in the Sundome in Yakima, which meant that their fans did not have enough seats and the game was regularly interrupted by balls from the courts to either side.
Despite the difficult conditions, both teams played a fantastic match that had those who could find a seat on the edge of it.
Thorp started off strong, controlling the first part of the first game, but the Lady Knights fought back to almost even the score, barely losing 25-23.
Sunnyside Christian controlled the second game for a time, but Thorp refused to give up and the end of the game turned into an epic battle with Thorp finally prevailing 27-25.
The final game was as thrilling as the first two, but the Lady Knights eventually fell 26-24 to Thorp, who went on to lose their next two matches and not place in the tournament.
On Friday afternoon the Lady Knights took on Crescent and swept them in three games. Sunnyside Christian took the first game 25-16, battling a ferocious Crescent team and the ongoing problem of balls from other courts.
The Lady Knights took the second game 25-18 and the third 25-15, keeping their hopes of a trophy alive and bringing them back to play on Saturday morning.
Their next match, against Lopez, was much tighter. The first game was a hard-fought battle that Sunnyside Christian won 25-23. The second game was as hard, and the Lady Knights pulled out a 25-22 win. Lopez didn't want to go home yet, though, and took the third game 25-16. In the fourth game the Lady Knights finished the match, winning 25-19 to move into the trophy round.
The final match of the tournament for Sunnyside Christian went to the full five games. The Lady Knights dropped the first game to Odessa-Harrington 25-19, fighting all the way.
Sunnyside Christian dominated the second game, winning by a decisive 25-9 score. Unable to maintain the momentum, they struggled in the third game and ultimately fell 25-19. They came back for the fourth game, turning the score around and winning by the same margin that Odessa-Harrington had beat them, 25-19.
The final game was a battle, but the Lady Knights could not prevail and lost to Odessa-Harrington 15-8.
"We are very proud to be bringing home the second state volleyball trophy in school history," said Coach Stephanie Dalrymple on Sunday. "After getting our nerves out of the way in our first match and adjusting to playing in the Sundome we played a great tournament."
The Lady Knights put up some impressive stats for the tournament. Alyssa Haak led the team, going 81-for-86 in serving with 12 kills, 35 digs, 58 assists and 31 perfect passes.
Alexandra Newhouse passed perfectly 45 times, had 31 digs and went 57-for-63 in serving.
Stormee Van Belle had a killer tournament, racking up 36 kills while blocking the ball at the net 30 times. Van Belle also went 60-for-61 serving and dug out the ball 18 times to keep the volley going.
Danika DeGroot personified teamwork with 32 assists and 39 digs. DeGroot also went 48-for-52 serving.
Maddy Wavrin kept the games going with 61 digs and 54 perfect passes during the tournament. She also got her team points with 39 spikes for kills.
Grace den Hoed worked hard keeping the ball in play with 38 digs and 40 perfect passes.
Brittany Broersma spiked the ball 17 times and contributed 26 blocks to the team effort.
Ashleigh Oswalt was no slouch with 32 perfect passes.
"We told the girls that this was it for the 2011 season and we just needed to leave it all on the court," said Dalrymple.
"I was very proud with how hard the girls fought to bring home a trophy. We are losing some great seniors this year. We have some strong underclassmen that are a great foundation for our team and looking forward to another great season next year. We would like to build this program into one that is playing at State often."