The Auburn Riverside Ravens volleyball team made its ninth straight appearance in the WIAA State tournament on Nov. 17 and 18 inside the Yakima Valley Sundome. The Ravens showed promise with an early upset in its first game, but lost momentum late in the tournament.
“This whole entire weekend we were telling each other ‘stay hungry’ as our motivation. We wanted to go out there and take care of the Panthers and that’s what we did,” senior Sophie Danielson said.
Coming into the first round, the Ravens were the number twelve team in the 3A class, and were matched up with fifth seeded Seattle Prep.
The Ravens got out to a huge lead in the first set, leading 8-1. Prep was able to find a way back and make Riverside sweat a little, but the Ravens won the first set of their tournament 25-22.
The key to getting the big leads was “our serves and energy,” Danielson said. “Our serves were really good and we definitely won the serve and pass game.”
The second and third set both saw Riverside get out to a huge lead again. In the second set specifically, the Ravens were on top 9-1 early in the set. This time around, the Ravens had the largest margin of victory in a set against the Panthers, 25-17.
Set three needed extra points for the Ravens to complete the comeback. Auburn Riverside was up 17-11, and even with that advantage, Seattle Prep took the lead 21-19. Auburn Riverside eventually toppled the fifth-seeded Panthers 27-25.
“We collected ourselves and took a deep breath and knew we had it in the bag,” Danielson said.
The second match on Nov. 17 was originally supposed to start at 9 p.m., a late one for sure. But with play being backed up, the Ravens didn’t get on the court to face District 2 and KingCo champs Lake Washington until 10:32 p.m.
The Ravens’ energy, or lack there of, coming into the game against Lake Washington was a contributing reason to hurting the team’s momentum.
The Ravens were extremely slow out of the gate and fell behind quickly to the Kangs. One thing that stuck out was the unenforced errors that hamstrung the Ravens in the opening set. It was uncharacteristic to see a Raven side not communicate and miss on serves as often as they did.
“We’re a big energy team. If we don’t have that energy, we just don’t really get going,” senior Sydney Priebe said.
The second set proved just as difficult for the Ravens, falling behind early, and they just couldn’t get back to even the score with the Kangs.
The final set was the best set for Auburn Riverside — point for point, the Ravens stood tall with the Lake Washington Kangs. The two sides were knotted at 18-18 late in the third set, but Lake Washington found a way to separate themselves from Auburn Riverside. Serves and free hits across the net allowed the Kangs to take down the Ravens.
“We were more ourselves (in the third set). Our serve and pass game was better, we were rallying more. We were just in it,” Tienda said.
There was some hope that the Ravens would come out with some fire in their next game knowing that it could their last.
“The senior class group wants to and knows how to lead the team like in the third set (against LWHS). So they have a big part in motivating the team,” Tienda said.
On that next Saturday, Auburn Riverside took on Prairie with a chance to make the fifth and sixth place game. Prairie took down the Ravens, and for the second straight year, the Ravens miss out on placing.