YAKIMA — When the Adna fans packed tight into a corner of the Yakima Valley SunDome saw their Pirates drop their second set to Lind-Ritzville-Sprague-Washtucna-Harrington 25-11 to fall behind two sets, they probably didn’t expect to be chanting “I believe that we will win” just an hour later as the final serve went up.
But that’s exactly where they found themselves, as the Pirates scraped and clawed and fought their way back from the brink to beat the Broncos 27-29, 11-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-8 to claim fifth place in the 2B state tournament.
“Our team, we like the battle,” Adna head coach Wendie Dotson said. “We always make it interesting for the fans. Coming back from two games down to winning the match, that was awesome. That’s why I love these girls.”
By the time the fifth set rolled around, the battle looked a whole lot different than it had when it started. The Pirates ripped off an 8-1 run to end the fourth set and force a decisive fifth, and the three-minute intermission in between did little to cool the fire Adna had cooking on its bench.
A foul, an error, and a kill by Brooklyn Loose helped the Pirates out to a 3-1 lead, and after trading points to 6-4, Adna got sophomore Danika Hallom back to the service line.
Four points later — including a pair of aces and a kill out of the back row for Hallom — and the Pirates had a 10-4 stranglehold on the set, and with it, the match.
Hallom finished with 11 kills, and 29 digs.
“She’s been good,” Dotson said of her sophomore outside. “They all contribute, they all do their part, they’re all amazing.”
Kendall Humphrey led the Pirates with 16 kills. Gaby Guard had 25 assists to facilitate the offense, while Loose added 13 and 23 digs.
LRSWH found a couple points to close the gap late to four points, but a net violation, a thundering Humphrey kill and an attack error got the set to match point, and Humphrey split one last block to end it and earn the Pirates the much happier of the two trophies on the line.
“They were exhausted, but they were still fighting,” Dotson said. “They still don’t have a lot of energy from being sick, but they really wanted that game.”
The match started off close and nearly turned controversial. With the first set tight the whole way through, Adna fought back from set point to take a 25-24 lead and get on the cusp of winning itself. But during an ensuing LRSWH timeout, the Broncos bench earned itself a yellow card and promptly spent five minutes discussing it with the referees, effectively icing the Adna server, who sent her offering long to tie the game back up.
The Broncos went on to win the set 29-27, and rolled in the second against an Adna side lacking any semblance of cohesion and getting called for a heap of double-hit violations.
“We never get called for that, and it can really take you out of your offensive game,” Dotson said. “We got called like 14 times, so we needed to fix it and move forward, and they decided they were going to do it point-by-point.”
That’s how it went. The Pirates found their best start of the day with an 11-7 lead in the third, and though they gave up a run to fall behind 20-17, they came back at just the right moment to win and force a fourth.
With its season extended by a set, Adna took full advantage, and didn’t stop running until it had a trophy in its hands.
“The girls decided that they weren’t going to give up, they weren’t going to let up,” Dotson said.
It’s the second straight year the Pirates have brought a trophy home to Adna — and the first time they’ve done so in back-to-back years, after taking eighth place in 2021. Adna will graduate Loose, Natalie Humphrey, Miriam Wilson, Annie Murphy, and Parker Feist, who will all leave as some of the most decorated Pirates to wear the uniform.