YAKIMA – The Sunnyside Christian Lady Knights won three of their four matches at the 1B State volleyball tournament in Yakima this past weekend, coming away with their highest finish ever.
The Lady Knights started out with a tough loss to Almira Coulee Hartline in the opening match of the tournament last Friday morning. Although Sunnyside Christian took the first set 26-24, the Warriors came back to take a 2-1 lead with wins in the second and third sets, 25-15, 29-27.
The Lady Knights evened up the match with a 25-12 win in the fourth set, then took an early lead in the final set, only to fall, 15-12.
“We were matching them for points for awhile,” said Sunnyside Christian Coach Stephanie Dalrymple. “We had a couple tough calls of us being in the net and that gave them a couple point lead.”
Dalrymple said both teams fought very hard, and that little mistakes ended up being the difference in the match.
Facing elimination, the Lady Knights continued to fight as they faced Moses Lake Christian Friday afternoon. The Lions took the first set 25-18, but the Lady Knights regrouped and took the next three, 25-8, 27-25, 25-21, to win in four sets.
However, despite winning the match, the Lady Knights lost sophomore Katelyn Banks to injury.
“I pulled freshman Kristen Broersma off the bench and she did a great job,” said Dalrymple.
The Lady Knights took the court again Saturday morning against Odessa-Harrington in another loser-out match. Sunnyside Christian again got off to a slow start, losing the first set 25-15.
The Lady Knights came back to tie it with a 25-16 win in the second set, but the Titans took the third set into extra points to win 27-25. Continuing the see-saw, the Lady Knights won the fourth set 25-20 and put the match away in the final set, 15-11.
“The girls once again never stopped fighting and played aggressive volleyball,” said Dalrymple.
With the win, Sunnyside Christian was guaranteed hardware at the tournament. Its final opponent was the Quilcene Rangers.
“We started the first set pretty slow and I just told the girls we needed to dominate the next two so we could win in three,” said Dalrymple.
The first set was a tightly-fought 27-25 win for the Lady Knights, but the second was a virtual blow-out, 25-4, with Sunnyside Christian on top. The Lady Knights won the third set 25-12 to finish the tournament in the seventh place spot.
“This is the best place we have taken for girls volleyball in school history,” said Dalrymple. “I’m so proud of the girls and the season we had. To go 20-1 is awesome!”
The Lady Knights tallied up some impressive statistics at State. Senior Brittany Broersma was 63-for-70 from the service line with eight aces. She also racked up 36 kills, 22 perfect passes and 13 blocks in the four matches.
Sunnyside Christian senior McKenzie Benjert tallied 59 assists and dug up the ball 28 times.
Stormee Van Belle, the other senior starter, was 61-for-68 serving. She had 47 kills and 32 perfect passes. She also dug up the ball 48 times to keep the side alive and blocked the ball at the net nine times.
Before her injury, Banks gave the Lady Knights a 23-for-26 performance from the service line with four blocks, seven assists and three kills.
Aydan Harrington collected 57 assists and dug up the ball 14 times for Sunnyside Christian.
Next year’s leaders, juniors Annie Brouwer and Kate Newhouse, both were powerhouses for the Lady Knights. Brouwer was 78-for-82 serving with eight aces. She also had 17 kills, 45 perfect passes and 68 digs. Newhouse contributed a 57-for-63 performance serving with 19 kills, 26 perfect passes and 67 digs.
“I was very happy with this season,” said Dalrymple. “I thought we had a great team that worked hard and played well together.
“Next year will be a little bit of a rebuilding year but I’m excited about the younger girls we have coming up. They have a lot of potential. I think we will still be contenders to be on top of our league and go to state again next year,” she added.