Mountaineers make history, take fourth at state tournament


YAKIMA — The Rainier volleyball team may have come out of the wrong end of its final result of the season, but the Mountaineers certainly had nothing to hang their heads about.

Despite the 30-28, 23-25, 15-21, 25-23 loss to Colfax in the 2B third-place game, the mood after the match was one filled with joy and pride, as these Mountaineers accomplished something no other Rainier team had done before.

“We made history here for Rainier,” Rainier coach Carrie Ooms said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

For the first time in school history, the Mountaineers advanced to the state semifinals, and they eventually left the Yakima Valley SunDome with the fourth-place trophy. It’s the first time they’ve ever placed at the state tournament.

Along the way, they notched one of the biggest wins in program history, knocking off the top-seeded Adna Pirates on Wednesday to secure their spot in the final four.

“I’m very proud of the way we played, of my group of girls,” Ooms said. “They worked hard, and we made school history.”

While the loss to the Broncos in the morning was disappointing, Rainier bounced back, going toe-to-toe with third-seeded Colfax throughout the entirety of the third-place game.

In the opening set, the Mountaineers overcame a 20-14 deficit to force extra points, though the Bulldogs eventually got the putaway point they needed to win the set 30-28.

The second set was just as close, as the two teams were within a point or two the entire way. Once tied at 23, it was again the Bulldogs who came away with the winning points.

Rainier came out on the winning side of a close third set, ending the set on a 5-1 run after it was tied at 20.

“They never gave up no matter what,” Ooms said. “They were always working hard and playing their best.”

Ooms was especially happy for her three seniors, Haleigh Hanson, Olivia Earsley and Lilly Johnson.

“I’m glad that they were able to experience it, be part of a great team, and see us place at state in their last year,” Ooms said.

Several key contributors will be back for Rainier next fall, including Allyson Ooms, Janess Blackburn, Annabelle Whiteman, Brooklynn Swenson, and Acacia Murphy. The Mountaineers finish their season 17-8.