The Arlington girls volleyball team travelled to the SunDome in Yakima to compete in the 3A State Tournament from Nov. 22 – 23.
The Eagles opened up the tournament early Friday morning as they took on the Peninsula Seahawks. After taking the first set by a score of 25-18, they battled to go up 2-0 with a tough-fought 26-24 second set. The Seahawks managed to sneak one away by a score of 25-17, but Arlington secured the win with a 25-16 final set and a 3-1 set score.
Arlington’s second matchup was against the defending, and current, State Champion Mount Spokane Wildcats. The Eagles stayed neck and neck in the first set as they barely dropped it with a score of 25-23. In the second set the Wildcats caught fire to take it 25-10 and then closed out the match with a final set of 25-20. Mount Spokane took the match, 3-0, and sent Arlington into the other side of the bracket.
The next morning the Eagles matched up with a familiar opponent in the Snohomish Panthers. In the first set the Panthers took one, as they came in fighting and won with a 26-24 score. After the first set, Arlington locked in and dominated the next three sets winning by 25-10, 25-17 and 25-14. This gave them the 3-1 match win and sent them into a battle for fifth place.
In their final match Arlington had a rematch from their District Tournament, the Ferndale Golden Eagles. Going into the final match the Eagles came in banged up and had to leave it all out on the court. They went back and forth in the first two sets as Ferndale took one 25-22 and Arlington took the second one 25-21. In the final two sets, the Golden Eagles managed to secure the win with scores of 25-16 and 25-19, giving Ferndale the 3-1 victory.
With the loss, Arlington placed sixth overall in the State Tournament. This was the Eagles third State Tournament appearance in school history and their first trophy as well. They finished with an overall record of 19-3.
“I was a part of a losing program when I was in high school here, and it means a lot to be able to come back as a coach and try to build something with the amazing community and players we have. There is nothing more exciting than to bring the trophy back home and show everyone at the Tournament who we are,” said Arlington Head Coach Whitney Williams.
Arlington’s seniors Arianna Bilby, Julia Parra and Reese Talbot made their mark. Bilby, outside hitter, led the team throughout the weekend with a total of 59 kills, 39 digs, two blocks, four assists and eight aces. Parra, middle blocker, had 14 kills, six digs and a team leading nine blocks. Talbot, outside hitter, cycled in to tally 11 total kills and two blocks.
Taylor Helle and Teagan Sutherland took the lead for the Eagles’ junior class. Helle, libero, totaled 19 digs, two assists and one ace. Sutherland, middle blocker, finished the tournament with five kills and four blocks.
The Eagles young sophomore players Emily Mekelburg, Taylor Pederson, Brookelynn Ramey and Malia Shepherd played beyond their years. Mekelburg, outside hitter, stepped up with a total of 46 kills, 18 digs, one block and two aces. Pederson, setter, led the team in assists with 76 along with 47 digs, one kill and seven aces. Ramey, setter, was second on the team in assists with 32 and six digs. Shepherd, outside hitter, filled the stat sheet with nine kills, nine digs, one block, one assist and three aces.
“These girls have an incredible work ethic, tenaciousness, competitiveness and they gave everything they had this year. Everywhere we’ve gone, I cannot tell you how many times people have told me how kind and classy our team is. I think that speaks volumes to their character and I’m so lucky I’ve been able to coach such an amazing group,” said Coach Williams.