YAKIMA — All good things come to an end. For Mossyrock volleyball, it was in the state championship match.
After falling behind in a disastrous first set (25-17), the Vikings rebounded with back-to-back wins (25-20, 25-21) to take a 2-1 match lead over Oakesdale in the 1B state title match Friday in Yakima.
But the Nighthawks, with their backs against the wall, roared back in an intensity-fueled fourth set to even the match with a 25-22 win. And in a fifth and decisive final set, Mossyrock fell behind 7-3 early, cut the deficit to 11-8 but never got closer in 15-11 loss.
It was a disheartening defeat for a Vikings team that placed third in 2019 and was runners-up in 2016, 2017 and 2018 — all in Class 2B.
“This is quite the accomplishment to get here, but it stings a little bit because we have been here a few times and they wanted it badly,” Mossyrock coach Alex Nelson said. “There’s not many people who can say they’ve played in a state championship, Jolee (Hadaller) has been in two of them and also placed third. She’s got a lot of bragging rights. To win one would have been incredible but it's still been a huge accomplishment.”
This is now just the third loss in two seasons for a Vikings’ team that has been thoroughly dominant for over half a decade. They lost just one match during the 2020 COVID year that didn’t have a state tournament, and just one this season until the state title match.
This year, Mossyrock tore through the 1B Columbia Valley League with a perfect 12-0 record. Their lone loss came to Class 2B’s Toutle Lake. They won their third-straight district title then swept three-straight opponents (Shoreline Christian, Mary Walker and St. John Endicott/LaCross) to advance to the state title game.
Nelson said she’s proud of how the team battled back from the COVID year in 2020 and not having a shot at state. Instead of getting down about losing out on another banner, they instead used it for motivation.
“A state was taken away from them and that can affect you in a negative way,” Nelson said. “But it didn’t for them. That says a lot about their character. Can’t say enough about these kids. They’re great volleyball players but they’re, more importantly, great people. It’s a tough loss.”
And with just one senior on the team, Hadaller, Nelson is looking forward to making another run at the state title next year.
“We have some great underclassmen and we look forward to competing over here again next year,” Nelson said. “That’s what I told them to focus on. Lots of great teams get here but aren’t always getting to the championship, and they’re doing it on a regular basis. Super proud of them.”
Mossyrock ends its season with a 22-2 overall record.