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Originally published Friday, November 15, 2013 at 11:58 PM

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Holy Names continues its unlikely run to state semis

When the mindset is right for the Holy Names volleyball team, Cougars head coach Karli Gordulan knows her team is tough to beat.


Special to The Seattle Times

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LACEY — When the mindset is right for the Holy Names volleyball team, Cougars head coach Karli Gordulan knows her team is tough to beat.

The Cougars unleashed a pair of dominating performances on the first day of the Class 3A state tournament at Saint Martin’s University. Holy Names powered into the state semifinals with a three-set quarterfinal sweep of Meadowdale of Lynnwood 25-11, 25-22, 25-22 and gets a date with Columbia River, which outlasted Seattle Prep to reach the semis.

“This year, we have a lot of new girls on the team, a lot of girls who hadn’t had a lot of playing time last year, so we felt like we were starting from scratch a little bit,” said Gordulan, the Cougars’ first-year coach whose team improved to 29-10. “We had to get our right combination going. We feel confident in it now.

“Our defense has been good. We picked up a lot, whether it’s a hard angle or down the line. Our middles and outsides have all been hot. We’re using four to five hitters, which is really nice.”

Fourth-ranked Mercer Island (21-2) survived an early challenge from Shadle Park to advance to the semifinals to meet a formidable foe, Southridge, the top-ranked 3A team in the state. The Islanders lost the first set to Shadle 27-25, but stormed back for a 25-19, 25-22 and 25-13 victory.

“We definitely should not have lost that first set, after being up 24-19,” MI coach Susan McKay said. “We just got complacent and lazy. That was a huge mental letup that we can’t have happen again.

“We felt like we were given a fair seed and we need to take advantage of it . We’re ready. We’re assuming we play Southridge at some point. If we want to win, we have to beat Southridge.”

In the other state quarterfinals, Columbia River outlasted Seattle Prep 25-27, 25-13, 27-29, 25-19, 18-16.

Unranked Meadowdale pulled off the biggest shocker in the opening round by knocking off No. 2 University of Spokane in three quick sets 25-12, 25-16, 25-19.

Top-ranked Southridge of Kennewick, which settled for third place in 2012, cruised past Bishop Blanchet 25-13, 25-22, 25-12 and the Suns beat Oak Harbor (11-14) in the quarterfinals 25-12, 25-14, 25-16 to move into the semifinals.

The Suns (28-1), who feature Mid-Columbia Conference MVP setter Kylie Fraga, face the Shadle Park-Mercer Island winner at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.



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