Ravens repeat as state 4A volleyball champions

The Ravens’ Anna Maracich, left, and Calley Heilborn. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

The Ravens’ Anna Maracich, left, and Calley Heilborn. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Auburn Riverside outlasted Mead of Spokane in five sets last Saturday to repeat as 4A state volleyball champion.

Game scores in the title match at the Toyota Center in Kennewick were 25-23, 25-27, 21-25, 25-17, 15-5.

It is the program’s third state title in 22 seasons under coach Chris Leverenz.

“This group of young ladies is the most cohesive group I have ever coached,” Leverenz said. “They wear the term, ‘I play for HER,’ very well because that is what they do. They play for each other, and that is why it is so personal. Their love for each other goes way beyond what most high school teams experience.”

As they did in the district tournament a week ago, the Ravens (23-1) methodically dispatched three opponents – Skyline, Puyallup and Emerald Ridge – in three sets to reach the final.

Calley Heilborn, the Ravens’ 6-foot-1 star hitter, was tournament MVP. The Western Washington University-bound senior had 27 kills and 18 digs against Mead.

Setter Ciera Zimmerman, who has signed with Colorado State, distributed 52 assists in the title match, earning all-tournament team honors.

Kate Pestova produced 13 kills and 22 digs for the Ravens.

Auburn Riverside won its last 17 matches of the season.

Leverenz said her back-to-back championship teams are similar.

“The only difference is they had another year to grow together and created an even tighter bond than last year,” she said. “The addition of Kate Pestova to replace our graduating seniors was huge. She is a phenomenal player and fit perfectly into our mix. She is a caretaker, also, and loved this team immediately. They are funny, quirky and are able to keep things light without panicking in the moment.

“The leadership of Heilborn, (Anna) Maracich and Zimmerman was perfect because they all bring something different to the table. They are all intense, but Zimmerman is the most,” Leverenz said. “Heilborn is a sparkplug, who keeps us light through her humor and facial expression. She is beyond talented, yet gives the credit to everyone around her … a true leader. Maracich is the calm leader and understands the pulse of the team.

“They are a rare breed. … Hard to let go, for sure.”

More in Sports

Off to state

Ravens’ Mpouli qualifies in three events and a relay to lead local contingent; Lions, Ravens also shine

Auburn Riverside selects Yzaguirre as new head football coach

Ravens’ offensive coordinator and quarterback coach gets the nod

Lions put up a fight but fall to Vikings in semifinals

Auburn Riverside scrambles back to earn state berth; Trojans meet elimination

Elliott Bay headlines Sunday’s $50,000 Auburn Stakes

Elliott Bat, voted track and state champion 2-year-old last year, makes his… Continue reading

Benzel captures Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Invitational

PGA pro from Sahalee takes one-stroke victory at Meridian Valley CC

Ima Happy Cat prevails in $50,000 Seattle Stakes

Filly delivers 2½-length triumph over Bella Mia

Mighty Moe, Provo lead Lions contingent at league finals

Top finishers move on to district championships

Vikings welcome Ravens’ Heilborn, Maracich

Stars part of Western Washington’s 2018 recruiting class

Most Read