The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Andrew Christiansen

Cougars bounce back to take State berth from Pirates


Andrew Christiansen

FINALLY THERE: The Lyle-Wishram Cougars celebrate what has been a long quest to reach State. After disappointing losses to Bickleton that cost them league and District trophies, the Cougars earned a place in the State tournament by defeating Bickleton.

Lyle-Wishram defeated Bickleton when it mattered most to win a berth to the State volleyball tournament. The Lady Cougars will join Sunnyside Christian as District 5 representatives in the tournament. Lyle-Wishram will play at 8 a.m., this Friday in the Yakima SunDome against Mount Vernon Christian.

It was a wild District tournament at Bickleton. Bickleton and Lyle-Wishram each won one match against each other, but Lyle-Wishram's win was for State in one of the quirks of a four team playoff bracket. In the first game, Bickleton won their second straight match against Lyle-Wishram 16-25, 25-23, 26-24, 11-25, 15-4. It was a tough loss for the Cougars. Last week the Pirates denied the Cougars a share of the league trophy and Saturday's win kept Lyle-Wishram from contending for the District title. But, it didn't get the team down. And that resilience is what got Lyle-Wishram to State.

Klickitat shocked Sunnyside Christian with a win, but fell to the Knights 25-13, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20 in the first round. In the championship match, Sunnyside Christian rolled to a 3-1 win over Bickleton. The Pirates gave the Knights a scare, winning the first game 25-22, the second time this year they had won a game against Sunnyside Christian. But the Knights came on to win the next three games 26-24, 25-22, 25-19.

Lyle-Wishram dispatched Klickitat-Glenwood 25-19, 26-24, 25-21, setting up the final match against the Pirates.

It was a very intense atmosphere for most of the match. Lyle-Wishram won the first game 25-18, and Bickleton won a lop-sided game two, 25-11. In each of their meetings during the season, the Lady Cougars have had a game that was severely one-sided. But, just as the team wasn't about to let the first round loss get them down, they shrugged off game two and won game three 25-23. It was a devastating loss for the Lady Pirates who were ahead 23-22, but couldn't close out the game. Shaylee Tharp had gotten the Pirates on top with seven straight serves for an 8-1 lead. Amber Tompkins blocked a Hannah Pond kill to break the run. But, it was still 11-5 before the Cougars began to hold their own and the scoring went back and forth to 18-13 before Lyle-Wishram began to look the stronger team. Two errors, then an ace by Alex Cloud tied the game at 19. Ashley Magana had a kill to make it 20-19, but the next serve for Bickleton was out. Ellie Smith caught net on a hit, but came right back with the tying kill at 21.

Andrew Christiansen

PIRATE CANNON: Hannah Pond was firing off booming shots in the 1B District 5 tournament at Bickleton. The Pirates' senior leader pounded hard shots at Lyle-Wishram who came up with enough digs to weather the storm and win the match.

Bickleton got their 23-22 lead on a hit by eighth grader, Rosy Molina. Smith won another point at the net for the tie and Caity Showalter served out the next two points for the win. Bickleton was physically and emotionally beaten as game four started. Lyle-Wishram ran off to an 11-3 lead, but the Pirates rallied with Tharp serving a pair of aces to start a run to 13-12. The Cougars responded with a pair of Kiya Childers kills to push the lead back to 20-16. Bickleton dug deep and made another run when KiraHarvey hit a kill to put herself on the line. She served the next three points, finishing with an ace that tied the game at 20. The teams swapped errors and then Smith and Tompkins sent home kill shots and two Bickleton errors ended the match.

The trip to State has been a long time coming for Lyle-Wishram who has six seniors who came close last year. They were in the Bickleton role in last year's tournament and Klickitat was the team they beat in the first round match. It was Klickitat last year who came from the loser bracket to beat Lyle-Wishram after the Cougars lost the championship match to Sunnyside Christian.

Pond led Bickleton in the tournament with 65 kills, 11 blocks and 75 digs. Magana had 19 kills and 61 digs plus five aces. Tharp had 95 assists, 48 digs and 12 aces. Harvey had 14 kills, 58 digs and four blocks.


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