Liberty places eighth at state volleyball tourney

December 4, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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By Greg Farrar The Liberty High School volleyball team is cheerful about the school’s first state tournament appearance  after a well-fought first set in its Nov. 14 match against Burlington-Edison.

By Greg Farrar
The Liberty High School volleyball team is cheerful about the school’s first state tournament appearance after a well-fought first set in its Nov. 14 match against Burlington-Edison.

In a fall sports season filled with firsts for the Liberty High School athletic department, the Patriots’ volleyball team made sure it got in on the action, too.

Liberty made its first state volleyball appearance in school history Nov. 14-15 and proceeded to pick up the program’s first state trophy, with an eighth-place finish.

“I thought we definitely had a very good chance to place, but my true expectations were, let’s go in, let’s play the best volleyball we can as a team, and kind of leave everything on the court,” Liberty coach Trina Christensen said.

The Patriots, led by KingCo Most Valuable Player Shea O’Brien, punched their ticket to state with a second-place finish at the District 2/3 2A championship Nov. 7-8.

Liberty’s only loss in that tournament came at the hands of North Kitsap, the team that went on to place second at state.

In first-round, 2A-state action at Lakewood’s Pierce College on Nov. 14, the Patriots fell to Burlington-Edison, 3-0. Despite the score, Christensen said it was one of her team’s better games during the tournament.

“One of our best matches, I think, is one that we lost,” she said. “We lost the first round to Burlington-Edison. However, I feel we played very, very well against them. To me, that showed that we came to state really wanting to work hard.”

The Patriots had to win their next match if they wanted to continue on in the double-elimination tournament. They bested Franklin Pierce, 3-1, and lived to fight another day.

“We really decided that we wanted to get to that second day of the tournament,” Christensen said of the Franklin Pierce match. “That was really the one where we stepped up, worked really hard and pushed through.”

Liberty stayed alive with a five-set, 3-2 win over Ellensburg to start the second day Nov. 15. The win ensured the Patriots would leave with a trophy — but would it be a seventh- or eighth-place plaque?

A 3-0 loss to Spokane’s East Valley gave the Patriots eighth place. Despite the loss, it was a big accomplishment for a Liberty team that was unranked most of the season.

“They were excited. However, I will say, I think we did want that seventh place,” Christensen said. “I think when you go into a match and you know you’re going to get seventh or eighth, you’re definitely trying to fight for that better position. But I know that we were very happy.”

Christensen largely credited O’Brien for Liberty’s special season, calling the senior leader the team’s “rock.”

“If you need a pass, Shea gets a pass. If you need a kill, Shea gets a kill,” Christensen said. “She was very consistent, just kind of that go-to player.”

Setter Emily Skinner also played an important part in the postseason surge, Christensen said.

“Over district and state, she kind of jumped up her level of play, and was very instrumental in where we ended up,” Christensen said.

The 2014 Liberty squad was a determined group that played just as hard as they worked, Christensen said.


Hazen gets to districts

Hazen’s season ended Nov. 7 after two straight losses in the District 3/4 3A volleyball tournament.

The Highlanders fell to Capital, 3-0, in the first round, before losing to Lincoln, 3-1, ending the season.

Hazen finished the regular season with an 8-7 record.

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