Central Kitsap entered the 3A state volleyball tournament as the lowest seed at 18th, but ended up going 1-2.
Before qualifying for the tournament, the Cougars needed to win a play-in game Nov. 17 against No. 15 Mercer Island.
CK began its near Cinderella run with a 3-1 victory over the Islanders, 25-15, 25-20, 17-25 and 25-9. Outside hitter Macy Holyoak began the state tournament with three kills and four aces in the three sets, Jordan Lingenbrink scored nine kills and a pair of aces, and Mae Lindsey had a couple of blocks.
After the victory, the Cougars returned to the court against two-seed Lynnwood. The Royals entered the game with a 20-0 record and only lost three sets the entire season. In addition, a two-seed has not lost in the first round of the state playoffs in a decade.
However, CK came close to making history, falling four points short, losing in five sets. The first two sets were similar. The Cougars took a 13-10 lead in the first and 13-8 lead in the second before the Royals called timeout. Both times Lynnwood returned and won the sets 25-20 and 25-23.
During the two sets, CK never trailed by more than five points. Lingenbrink led the Cougars in the first two sets with three kills and a block while outside hitter Manaia Pasi showcased her power with six kills.
In the third set, CK took another 13-8 lead before Lynnwood called a timeout. But this time Kawehi Sarono picked up two kills to extend the lead and the Cougs went on to win that set.
In the fourth set, the Cougars and Royals had six ties and two lead changes. Yet, Lindsey’s two kills, one block and one ace gave the Cougars the 25-22 win.
CK went into the final set with a 4-3 lead as Lingenbrink and Sarono scored a couple of aces on serves. CK led until Lynnwood tied it at 11-11. The two-hour match turned into which team can score four points first. It was the Royals as the Cougars fell 15-12.
CK later returned to the court against seventh-seeded Liberty. Lindsey gave the Cougars a chance with three kills and three blocks in the first set. But Liberty squeaked away with a 27-25 win.
The Cougars won the next set 25-21 but dropped the final two 25-22 and 29-27.