La Conner volleyball

The La Conner volleyball team, here celebrating a point Oct. 16 against Mount Vernon Christian, is playing in the Class 2B State Tournament.

YAKIMA — The La Conner volleyball team is two victories away from its first state title in 11 years.

The Braves toppled Manson in their first-round match in the Class 2B State Tournament on Thursday, then beat Brewster to advance to a Friday morning semifinal matchup against Tri-Cities Prep, which is slated to begin at 9:45 a.m.

The Braves roared out to a fast start in their tournament-opening matchup with the Trojans, winning 25-5, 25-23, 25-13.

Justine Benson was 17-of-17 serving and had 24 assists; Matty Lagerwey had 16 kills, 13 digs, three blocks and two aces, and Morgan Herrera had six kills.

La Conner coach Suzanne Marble said the Braves had to battle against a revitalized Manson squad in the second set.

“They got their confidence, and we let up a little bit,” she said. “They took control and we had to push back.”

Joanie Benson had five kills and Rachel Cram added nine digs in that victory.

Against Brewster, the Braves had to bounce back from a first-set loss for the 17-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-17 quarterfinal win.

“That first set, for some reason we came out almost intimidated. We were stressed about the team we were playing. It wasn’t confident playing,” Marble said.

The Braves charged forward from there. Justine Benson had 36 assists and four kills; Lagerwey was 24-of-24 serving with 16 digs, 10 kills and five aces, and Cram had 26 digs.

Katie Watkins had eight kills, Herrera added seven and Joanie Benson had 12.

“Matty stepped up, and Joanie Benson played hard tonight. She and Justine were connecting and we got our confidence in set two,” Marble said.

The Braves (18-0) will face a Tri-Cities Prep team ranked No. 1 in the most recent Washington Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll. Tri-Cities battled to a pair of five-set wins to get to the matchup with the Braves.

Mount Vernon Christian at Class 1B State Tournament

YAKIMA — Mount Vernon Christian fell to Pomeroy in a first-round match, then lost to Shoreline Christian in the consolation bracket as its season came to an end.

Pomeroy beat the Hurricanes 25-10, 25-11, 25-7, dropping Mount Vernon Christian into a loser-out match against Shoreline Christian. The Crusaders won that matchup 25-22, 25-18, 25-15 and ended the Hurricanes’ season at 13-8.

It was the program’s sixth state appearance in the last seven seasons.

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