Schwan powers Bellarmine Prep to title | 4A Volleyball
Tournament MVP Courtney Schwan, a 6-foot-2 junior, was all but unstoppable in leading the Lions to their first championship.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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LACEY — Courtney Schwan turned the switch.
When Bellarmine Prep needed her most in the Class 4A state volleyball tournament, Schwan took her game to another level.
The 6-foot-2 junior was all but unstoppable in leading the Lions to their first championship Saturday at Saint Martin's University.
"It was game-time," the tournament MVP said. "It was time for me to put my game-face on."
Schwan was the difference in the championship match against top-ranked Mead, especially after the Panthers rallied from a 2-1 deficit to force a fifth set. She simply would not be denied and Bellarmine (31-3) has its first championship. Set scores were 25-27, 25-14, 25-20, 16-25, 15-13.
Schwan had smash after smash, but on the final point, she showed some touch with a tip to an open spot on the court for her 26th kill of the match.
"She's a fantastic player," Mead coach Judy Kight said.
It was like a battle of heavyweights in the final between Schwan and Mead's Hannah Zalopany, who finished with 18 kills, three aces and five blocks.
Earlier in the day, the Lions ended Jackson's title hopes decisively in the semifinals, 3-0, thanks largely to Schwan's all-around efforts. She had 17 kills, 10 digs and a knee-buckling 10 aces. That avenged a 3-1 loss to the Timberwolves in the opening match of the season.
In four tourney matches, Schwan amassed 82 kills, 16 aces and 42 digs. She was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Katy DeGroot, a senior setter
Mead (30-2), which owes its only other loss to Central Catholic of Oregon, advanced with a 3-0 semifinal victory over Olympia, the defending champion. The Panthers showed their prowess in an epic third set, winning 36-34. Olympia had the lead most of the way in that one.
Other all-tournament choices were hitters Emmy Allen of Jackson, Michaela Berendt of Olympia, Lauren Harris of Camas and Brenna Bruil of Auburn Riverside, and setter Haley MacDonald of Jackson and libero/defensive specialist Natalie Kassa of Mead.
For the second straight year, Jackson found itself in the consolation final after coming in with title expectations. These seniors won it all as sophomores, but lost to Olympia in the semis last season. Then they fell again against Curtis and finished fourth.
Jackson (29-4) got another shot at Olympia Saturday and took care of business, 3-1, as Emmy Allen drilled 27 kills and Haley MacDonald handed out 44 assists.
"It felt great to finish that way," Allen said.
It was a solid finish for Olympia (23-11), which lost several key players from last year's team.
After failing to win a trophy at the 3A tournament last year, Camas moved up to 4A and snagged fifth place with a 3-0 victory over Puyallup. The Papermakers (29-5) lost only to Mead in the tournament.
Puyallup (27-8) got to the trophy round with a 3-2 win over sixth-ranked Emerald Ridge, a district rival and a team they lost to 3-0 back in September. Coach Tony Batinovich, whose team took fifth last year, was later induced into the Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
This was a feel-good match for both teams, which bounced back from first-round losses to earn trophies. For the record, Auburn Riverside beat Richland 3-0, taking home a trophy for the first time since placing third in 2009. That opening loss for the Ravens (23-8) was to Mead.
Richland (26-5) had never won a match at state before beating Lake Stevens Friday night, going 0-2 in both 2009 and 2010 (when the team came in ranked No. 2 in the state).
No. 6 Skyline and No. 7 Newport, the two KingCo representatives, both went home empty-handed after earning trophies in 2011. Both were eliminated Saturday morning and finished 1-2.