Thunderbirds Sweep Hawks, Advance to District Semis


LONGVIEW — Though it might not have been its cleanest and most consistent effort, the Tumwater volleyball team still got through Hockinson in the first round of the 2A District 4 tournament in a sweep, 25-19, 25-16, 25-19, Thursday afternoon at Myklebust Gym of Lower Columbia Community College. 

The win sets up a date with defending state runner-up Ridgefield in the district semifinals Saturday morning back in Longview. 

“All we have to do is go play volleyball,” T-Bird coach Molly Cichosz said of the team’s mindset. “We don’t need to do anything special, we just need to take care of business and that’s what they did. We didn’t do anything flashy, nothing crazy, just got the ball up, kept it in play, and it worked. I’m happy with the results.”

Natalie Montoya-Kilmer led the Thunderbirds with a team-high 9 kills, and middle Isabella Burney added eight as setter Emily Robello dished out 35 assists pretty evenly among Tumwater’s attackers. 

Back row teammates Brooklynn Hayes and Lalie Betschart combined for 35 digs between the pair. 

“Being disciplined is our biggest thing, let the other team make the mistakes and we’ll be fine,” Cichosz said.  

Headed into a matchup against one of the top teams in the state Saturday morning, if the T-Birds got past the Spudders they would play for a district championship and will have clinched a state bid. If Tumwater loses, they would play a loser-out, winner-to-state matchup later in the day against Black Hills or R.A. Long. 

“It’s going to be all-out effort if we want to win,” Cichosz said. “That’s what it's going to come down to. Especially at this level and time in the season, if they want it I have no doubt in my mind that we can take Ridgefield.”