The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Super setter Sierra Plum garners All-State honors


December 27, 2017

Jaryd Cline

Sierra Plum is shown setting the ball during Goldendale's game against Naches in the South Central Athletic Conference District Championship game on Nov. 4 in Granger.

For each of the last four years, Goldendale senior Sierra Plum has locked down the setter position for the Timberwolves, and last week was recognized as one of the top players in the state.

Plum was voted by the state's coaches to the Class 1A All-State team presented by the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association, earning honorable mention honors at the setter position.

The honor caps a great four-year career for Plum on the volleyball court in which she set the school's assist record earlier this year while also leading the team to its first trip to state since the 2008 season.

A day before Goldendale students were off for Winter Break on Thursday Dec. 14, Plum entered her mom Ginger's class at the school and noticed how thrilled she was.

"I had just walked into my mom's classroom and she was all excited and asked me if I had seen her (FaceBook) post," Plum said.

Ginger had just found out from head volleyball coach Jodi Bellamy that her daughter had made the All-State Team and had made a post online, although Sierra hadn't seen it yet.

"But she told me and I was in shock," Plum said. "I was so excited."

However, Plum wasn't expecting to earn the All-State honors. She said it always is tough for players to be voted to an All-State Team if their team hadn't placed at state.

The Timberwolves came up just short of placing though at the Class 1A State Championships on Nov. 10 and 11.

"It was a great experience. It was a lot of fun," Plum said of the trip to state.

"I'm just really proud of the team," she added. "Coming in as a freshman, we hadn't made it to state (since 2008) and then coming as seniors and the girls working really hard and making it to state. Not just going and losing, we competed and did really well."

The Timberwolves started with a bang at state on the opening day on Nov. 10, sweeping Bellevue Christian before falling in three sets to the eventual No. 3 finisher Lynden Christian. They then fell and were eliminated on the opening match of the second day, dropping a four set decision to Castle Rock, which finished sixth place.

It was a bumpy ride for the Wolves to reach state though after Plum hurt her ankle and was forced to miss a few games late in the regular season. She came down on a La Salle player's ankle that was over the center line during the home game against the Lightning on Oct. 17 and missed the next few games before returning in time for the district playoffs.

"Coming down with that injury, it was tough. It was not easy sitting on the sidelines," Plum said. "But I definitely learned a lot."

After all the years on the Wolves as sort of a second coach on the floor as setter, she took on sort of a coaching role while sidelined with the injury. She remembers the game she missed at Granger where some of the girls would ask her what she was seeing and for her advice.

"I was almost like an assistant coach on the side of the bench, just helping the girls," Plum said.

After she finishes high school and heads to college, she someday wants to return to the court as a coach. She plans on studying education with her eyes set on becoming a physical education teacher, and also wants to study coaching after she graduates from Goldendale in June.

Plum has been talking to a few collegiate coaches about the opportunity to continue playing volleyball into college, but doesn't know yet which direction she wants to head in.

She also said having Bellamy as a coach for four years in high school was a blessing. She picked up so many coaching tips and tricks from one of the best in the business, and it wasn't just volleyball.

"I want to be that role model like she was for me," Plum said.

Plum made lots of strides on the court from her freshman year to her senior season, but none bigger than her stepping up and taking on a leadership role for the Timberwolves.

"I started as a freshman in the setter position and that was really hard," Plum said. "I didn't want to step on anyone's toes that was older than me but every year you get older and more confident.

"By my senior year I had the confidence I could help the girls," she added.

And she sure did help the girls. All the way to the state tournament, somewhere Goldendale hadn't been for almost a decade.

Plum returned from her injury just in time for the Wolves to knock off the South Central Athletic Conference's No. 1 seed on the east side, the Kiona Benton Bears, in the opening round of the district tournament.

The Timberwolves knocked off the Bears in five thrilling sets on Halloween night in Ki-Be, and beat La Salle a few days later to earn one of the league's three spots in the state tournament.

For the season, Plum finished with 753 assists and 198 digs, while also serving at a 90-percent clip with 29 service aces.

She broke the school's all-time assist record during the district tournament in 2016 and was honored before Goldendale's first home game (a five-set win) this season on Sept. 19 against Naches. She passed 2009 Goldendale graduate and assistant coaches Kylee Barnes' record of 1,646 career assists.

After she finishes basketball season and finishes up her schooling in Goldendale, don't be surprised if you see her in college setting up her teammates with perfect passes in the future.


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