Loggers show grit to capture fifth-place trophy at state

The Logger volleyball team received an escort on their return trip to Darrington from the state tournament . -
The Logger volleyball team received an escort on their return trip to Darrington from the state tournament .
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The Darrington Logger volleyball team had a strong finish at the State 2B tournament held Nov. 9-10 in Yakima, Wash.
Manson, who eventually would be runner up to repeat state champ LaConner, beat Darrington in Fridays opening round 25-16, 25-12, 25-16.
The Loggers started out strong, going on top by 10-3 in the opening game, but not much went right for the Loggers after that. Mansons serving placement got Darrington out of its offensive rhythm and they never got it back. Mandy Powell had 17 assists, Caitlin Pendergrass 5 kills, and Natasha Green 4 kills in defeat. Middles Maggie Wicken and Hailey Wales chipped in three blocks each.
In the consolation bracket, the Loggers faced Pacific League champion South Bend. The Loggers won 25-19, 20-25, 24-26 25-17, 15-4. Being down two games to one, and only one game from elimination, the Loggers finally got into a rhythm.
We didnt really start playing well at state until we had our backs against the wall in that fourth game, said Coach Greg Powell. We finally caught fire.
The Loggers picked up the intensity on the defensive end , making some spectacular digs and saves. Right-side hitter Pendergrass heated up with 10 kills, while Wicken and Jordan Corley combined for 9 kills. Powell dished out 23 assists to go along with 18 digs.
Facing Tri-District foe Kings West to get to the trophy round, the Loggers dispatched them in three straight 25-15, 25-19, 25-19. The Loggers were efficient as Pendergrass pounded down 13 kills while outside hitters Corley and Green combined for 14. Corley was also a perfect 14 for 14 serving with two aces. Mandy Powell jump-served eight aces to go along with her 30 assists..
In the trophy round for 5th and 8th place, Darrington defeated Bi-County League power Davenport 18-25, 14-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-12. Last years state third-place finisher, Davenport again used pinpoint serving to create trouble for Darrington in the first two games, while the Loggers seemed listless.
After the second game everyone on the team decided that eighth place would not be good enough, said Coach Powell. It was all about who really wanted it.
After building up a 23-16 lead in the third game, the Loggers held on for a 25-23 win and then won again more comfortably 25-21 in the fourth. Pendergrass had 12 of her match high 18 kills in those two games alone. In the fifth and deciding game, Davenport jumped on Darrington for what seemed to be an insurmountable 10-5 lead. Behind some tough serving by senior libero Kimi Woodward, the Loggers battled back to take a 12-10 lead. At 14-12, Wicken hit a deep corner kill to top off the comeback, and the best ever finish for any Logger volleyball team, plus the best state finish ever for a Darrington girls team in any sport. Besides the 18 kills by Pendergrass, Natasha Green had eight kills, while Maggie Wicken had six kills and four blocks. Powell had 40 assists, 21 digs and three aces.
As the Loggers arrived home on Sunday afternoon, the team bus was intercepted by two ambulances, five fire trucks and dozens of cars as the Loggers noisily paraded around town before being greeted by school Superintendent Larry Johnson, families and other community members outside of the high school to celebrate the Loggers fifth-place trophy.

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