COEUR d’ALENE — There was no trophy for the victorious Coeur d’Alene High volleyball team to hoist Tuesday night.
No worries. The top-seeded Vikings were so excited after capturing their first regional volleyball title since 2015 that just about any object — human or otherwise — would do.
They posed for a group photo with a broom, symbolic after sweeping the visiting Lake City Timberwolves 25-12, 25-22, 25-16 moments earlier in the 5A Region 1 championship match at Viking Court.
Later, they lifted up a fellow student and ardent supporter in lieu of hardware.
“It’s so exciting,” said senior middle blocker Elly Schraeder, who finished with six kills, four blocks and three aces. “After four years on varsity, being kind of a loser, you know? My freshman year, we went from fourth at state the year before to fourth at districts. We’ve never really done too well. This is the first time we’ve ever beaten Lake City ... it’s a good feeling.”
Coeur d’Alene (23-5) advances to state next week at either Lake City or Post Falls high school. Second-seeded Lake City (19-12) plays host to third-seeded Post Falls (11-13) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for the region’s second berth to state. The loser of that match will host the state 5A tourney, since volleyball teams in Idaho are not allowed to play at state in their own gym.
Post Falls eliminated fourth-seeded Lewiston in five sets on Tuesday night.
Coeur d’Alene d. Lake City: Prior to last week, Coeur d’Alene had not beaten Lake City since 2015, but this year’s group is heading into state after sweeping the Timberwolves for the second time in eight days.
“I’ve never been happier; this is all I’ve wanted,” said senior middle blocker Lili Hare, who missed 2-3 weeks during the season, with an injured left ankle. “It means the world to me (to go to state as a regional champion). I’ve wanted this so much, and we all worked so hard to get this.”
Much like last week, Coeur d’Alene stormed to a convincing victory in the first set, sparked by blocks from Schraeder, freshman Madi Symons, Hare and Emma Fahy, among others. Hare had the kill off the block on set point.
Coeur d’Alene led 22-14 in the second set before Lake City rattled off eight straight points, capped by back-to-back aces by Jaya Miller, to knot the set at 22. But the Vikings regained control, and scratched out the last three points.
The third set was full of highlight-reel plays from Coeur d’Alene — Taylin Rowley digging up a Lake City smash, then scoring on a back-row kill. A block for a point by junior Lauren Phillips, then on the next play Phillips taking a back set from Courtney Garwood and cranking a kill from the right side. On the next point, junior Sarah Wilkey lunged forward for a one-fisted dig, which led to a block by Hare for the point.
“I was so proud of the girls,” Coeur d’Alene coach Carly Curtis said. “There was a couple times we struggled on serve-receive, and we bounced back and kept fighting. Our defense was awesome tonight, we dug up a ton of balls. Our blocking was great. I think we had a solid performance by everybody.”
Rowley and Phillips finished with seven kills each for the Vikings. Phillips also had 12 assists and two aces, Garwood 11 assists, Wilkey nine digs and two aces, Rowley eight digs, Hare three blocks for Coeur d’Alene, which won a play-in match to get to state last year.
“It’s so exciting that it happened for the three of us seniors,” Rowley said. “I’ve never been on a team that’s wanted it more, than this year. So it’s meant a lot.”
In defeat, Tanai Jenkins was a standout in the middle with five kills and four blocks for Lake City, which won the last three regional titles. Brenna Hawkins had six kills, Janae Rayborn five. Ella Hosfeld had 10 assists and six digs, Nellie Reese nine assists, Jaya Miller three aces and five digs, Kiki Cates nine digs.
“We probably had a few less unforced errors than last time,” Lake City coach Mike Summers said. “But just bleeding points from unforced errors on our side of the net was the story of the game — again.”
Lake City is 3-0 vs. Post Falls this season, but the last match, in the first round on Saturday, went five sets, the T-Wolves prevailing 15-13 in the fifth.
Post Falls d. Lewiston: Down two sets to one, senior Ali Carpenter stepped up both on and off the court when the Trojans needed it the most.
Carpenter had 23 digs and two aces for the Trojans in a 25-21, 23-25, 15-25, 25-22, 15-8 win over the Bengals in a loser-out match in the 5A Region 1 tournament at The Arena.
“We kind of had a little wakeup call in that third set,” Post Falls coach Matt Barkley said. “Ali took them aside, and they really responded to her.”
Maya Blake had 10 kills and two aces, Rylee Hartwig nine kills, Kamden Fiddes four blocks and Kassie Gardiner 24 assists for Post Falls (11-13), which plays at Lake City on Thursday.
“Kamden did a great job blocking and Ali has been really consistent all year and really stepped it up tonight. We were able to rattle off a lot of points with her serving tonight.”