The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Goldendale U16 spikers capture Spokane tourney title

 

Jennifer Mitchell

The Goldendale U16 team led by, from left, Taylor Fahlenkamp, Kennedy Berry, Taylor Rising, Sara Hiebert, Rachel Gallagher, Payton Sheridan, Olivia Erland, and coach Jennifer Mitchell, won the 29-team Pete Bell Memorial Tournament on Sunday in Spokane.

For the three years that Jennifer Mitchell has been coaching Goldendale club volleyball, she hasn't seen her team play better than they did on Sunday at the Pete Bell Memorial Tournament in Spokane.

The seven person U16 Gold team went 2-1 in pool play, earning a spot in the Gold Bracket with seven of the other top teams among the total field of 29 teams.

Upon entering bracket play Sunday afternoon, the Goldendale spikers picked up their play, knocking off Idaho's T3 DCC in their first match and beating team CPA Extreme in the semifinals.

They advanced to the bracket finals where they faced the Rivals, a Spokane team consisting of high school freshmen and sophomores. Goldendale didn't blink and continued playing at a high level, sweeping the Rivals after holding on with an exciting 29-27 first set win before prevailing 25-20 in the second to win the championship.

"They played an incredible afternoon of volleyball," Mitchell said. "It was top-level volleyball. They were moving, talking, doing everything it took to win points."

Goldendale had only seven players on the roster, and with six players on the court at all times, there was very little rest for the team.

"They played all day long," Mitchell said. "They didn't get a break."

The Goldendale team consisted of high school freshmen Taylor Rising and Olivia Erland, and eighth graders Taylor Fahlenkamp, Kennedy Berry, Sara Hiebert, Rachel Gallagher, and Payton Sheridan.

Many of the other teams were comprised of freshmen and sophomores, and most of the teams were from Spokane, Yakima, and other parts of the state as well as a few teams from Idaho. Many of the teams Goldendale hadn't played against before.

Nonetheless they were able to put together a great day of hitting.

"Every contact, whether it be a serve or a set, all things came together," Mitchell said. "Great passing led to great sets which led to a great hit."

Goldendale had been to a few tournaments already this season, but Sunday in Spokane was the first time they've finished on top this year. They've reached the championship bracket in every tournament they've competed in this season except one.

This weekend, the Goldendale U16 and U12 teams will be in Yakima for the two-day Northwest Jamboree and the following weekend, March 16-18, the U 16 team will play at a tournament in Selah.

After a couple weeks off after playing in Selah, the team closes the season out with the Evergreen Region Volleyball Association Tournament on April 21 at the Spokane Convention Center.

 

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