La Center volleyball league champs, roll into district playoffs with momentum


The La Center volleyball team claimed the 1A TriCo League championship and enter the postseason with an undefeated record after finishing the regular season with two wins last week.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, the Wildcats beat the Seton Catholic Cougars at home, 3-0. On Thursday, Oct. 26, the Wildcats defeated the Castle Rock Rockets 3-1 on the road to maintain their perfect record. La Center has only dropped five sets all season out of 18 matches.

Now the Wildcats roll into the playoffs ranked the No. 1 overall team in Washington’s 1A classification in multiple polls.

Washington’s District 4 1A Volleyball tournament begins Wednesday, Nov. 1 with matches at Castle Rock and Montesano middle and high schools. They will conclude Saturday, Nov. 4.

“We’re going to continue to work on long rallies, scrappy defense, being aggressive on our serving but also being a little bit more precise with our serving,” head coach Cymany O’Brien said of their playoff preparation. “It’s just kind of like rounding out the rough edges. We’ll look at making sure we start out strong and [that] we don’t have those slow starts.”

Tuesday, Oct. 24, the Wildcats celebrated their two seniors for senior night, Sofia Van Zant and Lauren Hudson.

“They are incredible leaders, I will definitely miss them,” O’Brien said. “You couldn’t ask for better senior leaders, and I have to say it started last year. I had three phenomenal senior leaders. They did such a great job mentoring and making sure that the next group that came in behind them was ready to go and pick up right where they left off, and 100% they did and they’re great kids.”

Last season, the Wildcats saw their postseason run end with an eight-place finish at state. This year, the Wildcats hope to make a deeper run.

“Pinch me when it’s over,” O’Brien said of this season. “It’s just been super surreal, and I just kind of have to take a step back, and I’m like, ‘Is this really our season? Is this really what we’re doing?’”

One thing O’Brien has liked about this season is her team’s ability to accept their roles.

“I think the one thing, top to bottom, … they get along, they work really hard and they’re very much about role acceptance,” O’Brien said. “They all know what their jobs are, and so that changes from set to set, and they are 100% sold on what they need to do for the team. It’s all about the team.”

La Center’s first district match will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Castle Rock High School.