Rainier, Napavine clinch state berths


ADNA — While it may have been too close for comfort at times, Rainier and Napavine both punched their tickets to the 2B State Tournament on Saturday at Adna.

It’s the second straight year the Tigers are going to Yakima, and it’s the second time in three years that the Mountaineers have made the tournament.

Napavine later topped Rainier in the third-place game in four sets, but both coaches were pleased that they will be making the trip east next week.

“It’s amazing,” Rainier coach Carrie Ooms said. “The girls have so much potential and they earned their spot at state. I really hope this year, we can do well. My goal for this year was to make it to state, so I hope to even go above and beyond that and maybe place.”

In their state-clinching match, the Mountaineers swept Kalama 25-23, 25-21, 25-21. While Rainier led most of the way, the Chinooks were able to stay within striking distance.

Rainier prevailed, however, advancing to the third-place game.

Clinching didn’t come as easy for the Tigers, who needed five sets to top Forks 25-22, 25-21, 18-25, 17-25, 15-9 in their first matchup of the day. After the Tigers took both of the first two sets, the Spartans responded well, ending the third set on an 8-1 run and dominating in the fourth to force a decisive fifth.

The Tigers were able to find their footing again to win in the fifth set, something that Dailey said lifted a weight off their shoulders going into the third-place match.

“It was way too close, but the girls pulled out the win,” Dailey said. “I’m super proud of them.”

The Tigers were close to their A-game in the third-place match, playing with an energy and flow that Dailey says at times eludes them. If they’re on next week, however, they’ll be able to compete with any team in the state.

“I just hope that they go over there, and they just do their job,” Dailey said. “Just perform, have fun, enjoy the moment and be successful.

Both teams will learn their seeding tomorrow, and they’ll both begin play in the first round in Yakima on Wednesday.