YAKIMA — Castle Rock volleyball has improved by leaps and bounds from last year to this season, and though it won’t result in a state title, the Rockets happy enough to be playing on the second day of the state tournament.
“I think every athlete on our team has shown a tremendous amount of growth,” coach Jeana Bayes said. “Last year we were unsuccessful (at state) and this year we won a match, we were close in a couple of games with King’s, who is a very good team.”
Castle Rock was swept by King’s 25-16, 25-18, 25-22 Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A State Tournament after beating Coupeville 3-1 earlier in the day at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
It was the Rockets’ first loss of the season. The now 17-1 Castle Rock squad will face Goldendale in a loser-out, winner-to-trophy game at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“I think we were just excited to be at state last season; we weren’t really aiming for the state championship,” senior Trinity Naugle said. “But we came here hungry, and we put our hearts on the courts. The last team we played was pretty tough, everyone on that team plays tournament. We haven’t faced that yet, but I thought we stuck with them for awhile.”
Saturday will be the final day Naugle plays volleyball in a Castle Rock uniform, along with Emily Ashby, Kyndil Kirkendoll and Auna Dolan. The latter of the group has been a team leader both statistically and vocally— and she has witnessed the same growth Bayes and Naugle have.
“We’ve gotten to know how to play together really well,” Dolan said. “From coming to state last year, losing both of our first games to winning our first this year and putting up a fight in the second, I’m just really proud of the (continuation).”
Castle Rock entered the tournament undefeated, but got one of the toughest quarterfinal draws, which Bayes believes negatively affected the team. The players felt it, too, but they’re also looking at it as another root to grow from.
“It was challenging, but I thought it was good,” Dolan said. “We got really good competition, we put up a fight and it was so fun even though we lost because it was nice to be pushed and see what we were able to do.”
Castle Rock knew its game following their opener against Coupeville was going to be the toughest game they’ve played— whether it was King’s or defending state champion Lakeside, of Nine Mile Falls, — but the Rockets took it in stride, locking in to what they could control at each individual moment.
“Our first game, we focused on that instead of Lakeside or King’s because they were the really tall and huge, and we’re not used to that,” Naugle said. “We’ve made it to Saturday, that was our goal.”
Dolan recorded 11 kills, three assists, five blocks and four digs against King’s, while Kirkendoll factored in four kills. Zoe Naugle tallied eight kills with four blocks in Friday’s finale and added 10 kills in the opener.
Sophomore Logann Golden notched 19 digs in the opener against Coupeville, and libero Rachael Anderson added 12 more.
The Rockets will continue their trophy hunt Saturday, with an 11 a.m. match against Goldendale, and the winner guaranteed fifth or sixth place.
“I would love to come out and win both of them tomorrow,” Bayes said. “If we win both, we come home with a trophy and I think they deserve it, I think they play hard for that and I think they have the mindset.”
Kalama finishes sixth in 2B: Kalama earned a sixth-place trophy with only two seniors after a roller-coaster state tournament which saw them at their best, and a little less than.
The Chinooks opened with a sweep of La Conner before being swept by Northwest Christian on Thursday. On Saturday, it took five sets to top Brewster (25-18, 25-23, 19-25, 20-25, 19-17) before the Chinooks were swept by Napavine (25-18, 25-21, 25-16).
The reigning champion Chinooks’ state tournament was a lot like their regular season: Up and down, but also completely dominant in stretches that display their potential.
“To take sixth for a team that nobody thought would make state, that’s good,” coach Jeni O’Neil said. “I’m really proud of them. … We’re a young team, we’ll be back.”
Kalama finished 16-8 overall.
Kapio Wetmore finished the tournament with 47 kills, Danica Killinen ended with 46 kills and 53 digs, Amanda Killinen finished with over 100 assists and 34 digs, while Molly Mickelson had 53 digs.
Both Mickelson and Danica Killinen finish their careers at Kalama having appeared in three state tournaments, with one title, a fourth-place finish and a sixth-place finish.
Kittitas 3, Toutle Lake 2: The Ducks came up a match short of the trophy round following a 16-25, 25-17, 25-19, 18-25, 15-12 setback to Kittitas in an elimination match at the 2B State Volleyball Championships at the SunDome on Friday in Yakima.
TL finished its season 12-10.
“Our goals for the season were to be in the top four of league, and we were fourth,” TL coach Don Merzoian said. “We also wanted to finish in the top three of the Adna Tournament, and we were third. Our other goal was to make it to the second day of the state tournament, and we did.”
Kaylee Florek led the Ducks with 10 kills, with Molly Donald added seven. Marissa Smith had seven blocks, Taylor Gould added three kills and 20 assists, and Sienna Rudd dished 17 assists and served 100 percent. Mahayla Kruse made 18 digs, and Casey Wentz added 12.
“We’re excited for next season,” Merzoian said. “We’ll have everyone back except for Mahayla Kruse, who graduates.”
Selkirk 3, Three Rivers Christian 1: The Eagles also finished a match away from the trophy round following a loss to Kittitas in an elimination match of the 1B State Volleyball Championships at the SunDome on Friday in Yakima.
Set scores for the Rangers were 17-25, 26-24, 25-16, 25-23.
TRC finished its season 16-4.
No additional match details were available.