T-Birds Stuff Monarchs in District Opener

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TUMWATER — Even when all the other 2A Evergreen Conference teams fell in the opening round of the District 4 tournament, Tumwater wasn’t intimidated. Even after dropping the first set, the Thunderbirds remained poised. 

After falling behind early, the T-Birds beat Greater St. Helens League No. 3 Mark Morris in four sets (15-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-19) to open the tournament strong Thursday. 

“Our middles made all the difference, they were on, they were quick, they were seeing the ball,” T-Birds co-head coach Jordan Stray said. “They are some of our best players. They really showed up today, which is amazing.”

Middles Alyssa Duncan and Bella Burney led from the inside, with Duncan contributing 11 kills, three blocks, three aces, and 11 digs, and Burney spiking home eight balls for kills and blocking a game-high five attacks. 

Not to be outdone by the middles, Ella Wyrick dug up 23 balls and Emily Robello dished out 22 assists in the winning effort. 

But after falling behind, and even having to rally from a 10-3 deficit in the deciding fourth set, the T-Birds always remained poised and found ways to get back into it. 

“Just being patient and staying in control,” co-head coach Jill Giudice said. “We practice a lot of perseverance, we will start scrimmages that way, down 10 points and coming back. When it happens in a game it's not a shock, and they know what to do, and they did.”

The win means the Thunderbirds get a second round matchup with GSHL No. 1 Columbia River on Saturday, with a trip to state on the line. If the T-Birds lose, they’d fall into the losers bracket and play the winner of Black Hills/Shelton.