The Prairie High School girls volleyball team came into the 3A state tournament with grit and determination last week.
After earning their entry into the state tournament, the first time the team accomplished the feat since 2018, the girls lasted one day. Prairie lost its first match against Bellevue, 0-3, on Nov. 17 at the Yakima Valley SunDome. The Falcons were later eliminated in a knockout round against Seattle Prep, 1-3.
Coach Jen Palmer said the dedicated team experienced some setbacks throughout the season, which included injuries and illnesses, but she is proud of the work the girls put in this year.
“These athletes started this season’s preparation well ahead of season,” Palmer said. “Under the guidance of a new assistant coach, Allison Berg, the girls were on a strength and conditioning program throughout the entire summer. Each week we saw physical improvements, and the girls could see it and feel it.”
Palmer said it was fun to see the team’s strength and endurance translate to the court during open gym sessions.
“Each day they showed up hungry and ready to show what they could do,” Palmer said, noting how much chemistry and fun the team had together.
The team took part in districts at Bonney Lake High School. They beat Auburn and Spanaway Lake, which earned their entry into the state tournament for the first time in four years.
“That was an exciting day for us, as none of these athletes have gotten the opportunity to experience state. We were on a high after Friday and after being top four in districts, we were excited to compete Saturday to see what seed we could get into state,” she said.
Prior to the their last games of the season on Nov. 17, Palmer said the team was determined to carry on their success to the end
“I think when this team believes in themselves and puts their mind to something, it’s hard stopping them,” Palmer said. “They are strong, in great shape and we have a deep bench that can come in and provide help when needed. They are a pretty young team, and I’m excited about their future as well.”
The coach highlighted some players who helped carry the team forward throughout the season. Palmer said Emelynn Cecil had “huge consistency” in her serve receive and was also great on defense, showcasing “lots of athleticism.” Palmer said Ella Conklin, a six-rotation player, had a huge presence offensively and with blocking.
As for Diamond Doutrive, Palmer said she had a large presence on the court, while Avery Eterno earned a starting position and did well defensively and with her serving and receiving. Palmer said Eterno has a “very bright future” ahead of her.
Addie Cameron, on the other hand, was described as a “terminator.”
“She could put the ball away for us. She has an incredible vertical and a great athlete,” Palmer said.
The last time the Falcons made it to the state tournament in 2018, they finished in sixth place.