Lions surge into 3A state tourney

The Auburn Mountainview volleyball team played this past weekend like the ranking it held at the start of the season.

The Auburn Mountainview volleyball team played this past weekend like the ranking it held at the start of the season.

That is to say, the Lions were on top of their game at the Class 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament at the Kitsap Sun Dome in Silverdale.

Behind the standard gold-star performance from lanky left-handed setter Megan McBride and an equally impressive showing from Tricia Patton, the Lions won both matches on Saturday, thus sealing the team’s third-straight trip to state.

“Without a doubt, this is the best the team has played,” said coach Momi Bowles, whose team entered the season top ranked, but has since fallen out of rankings altogether. “Mentally, physically and emotionally this is the best they’ve played.”

How good were the Lions?

They beat third-ranked Prairie in the opener, 25-5, 25-20, 25-19.

McBride filled up the stat sheet in the win, collecting 17 assists, 11 digs, eight kills and four aces.

The Lions (28-5) took that same momentum into their second match against second-ranked Kennedy, traditionally one of the top Class 3A teams in the state.

Auburn Mountainview was pushed to the brink by the Lancers, needing wins in the final two games to pull out the match victory.

Patton keyed the five-game – 25-20, 25-27, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10 – victory, with a season-high 19 kills.

“She played the game of her career,” Bowles said. “She literally took the game over in the front row, back row … and kept looking at (setter) Megan (McBride) and saying, ‘Give me the ball.’”

Though the win sealed a state berth for the Lions, the tournament remains up in the air. Auburn Mountainview will return to the Sun Dome on Saturday and play Union of Vancouver (22-8) at 2 p.m. in the semifinals. South Puget Sound League 3A rivals Sumner (23-0) plays Enumclaw (18-12) in the tournament’s other semifinal.

The top six teams from the 16-team field advance to state, which will be played Nov. 21-22 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

Ravens still alive

Auburn Riverside will be battling for survival when it returns to the Sun Dome in Silverdale for the second portion of the Class 4A West Central District tournament.

The Ravens got off on the wrong foot this past Saturday, falling to Bellarmine Prep in the opener 25-21, 15-25, 25-18, 25-20.

“I think we could have won that one had we not made so many mistakes,” Auburn Riverside coach Chris Leverenz said. “It was a winnable game.”

The Ravens quickly picked up the pieces, sweeping Central Kitsap in three games, 25-21, 25-14, 25-17.

Heidi Bell led the resurgence, pounding out 13 kills, adding three blocks and serving up three aces.

Auburn Riverside returns for the tournament’s final slate of games this Saturday. The Ravens play South Puget Sound League North Division foe Kent-Meridian at noon in a loser-out match.

The top six teams in the field of 16 advance to next week’s state tournament at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

Auburn Riverside, which took second at the state tournament last year, needs to win both loser-out matches on Saturday to advance.

“If we play well, we should be fine,” Leverenz said.