YAKIMA — Raymond’s volleyball squad earned the 2B fourth-place trophy at the WIAA state tournament.
The Seagulls advanced to the championships after a stellar regular season in which they accumulated multiple theree-set wins and an 11-0 league record.
Volleyball is a family affair for head coach Bob Swogger. Playing for him were daughters Sidney, a senior, and Caton, a junior, plus niece Cadence, also a junior. Wife Jennifer is the scorekeeper (and youngest daughter Joslynn, a fifth grader, runs the scoreboard at home games).
“I am absolutely thrilled with our performance at the state tournament this year,” said Coach Swogger,.”Making it to the tournament is difficult and winning there even more difficult.
“The fact that we finished as the No. 4 team in our classification is a huge accomplishment. I am very proud of the heart and determination that our girls showed and I am sure they made the entire county proud. “
Raymond began by beating Lind-Ritzville-Sprague, dropping one set for a 25-21, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23 win.
That set up a clash with Colfax, which had beaten Wahkiakum, 25-15, 25-17, 25-17. The Seagulls won 23-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-23 to move into the semifinals.
Things didn’t go so well after that. Against Walla Walla Academy, Raymond went down 25-19 and 25-16 in the first two sets. The Seagulls won the next two 25-23, 25-19 to tie the game. However, the Knights won the final battle 15-9.
Ninety minutes later, Raymond players were on court again for the consolation final for third- and fourth-place against Manson. The Lake Chelan-area school won 25-17-25-20, 25-12.
“We did have a rough game against Manson for third place,” Swogger said. “I attribute most of that to being tired from the semi-final match that went five sets.
“We definitely threw everything we had into that match and I think we were still physically and emotionally drained.”
But the coach left the Yakima SunDome upbeat.
“It has been awesome getting to share this experience with my daughters and niece, said Swogger whose daughters were in second and third grade when he became head coach. He has also coached them with Grays Harbor Volleyball Club since they were in the third grade.
“Most people don’t realize the amount of time and effort a head coach puts in to running a successful program,” he said. “It definitely becomes a family affair and everyone is involved. I am very grateful for the time volleyball has allowed me to spend with my daughters and family in a fun and meaningful way.”
For the record, the 2B championship game was also lopsided. La Conner, which had beaten Manson in the semis, defeated the Walla Walla team in three sets, 25-15, 25-13, 25-12.
Wahkiakum, the Lower Columbia’s other 2B state qualifier, had a tough time in the double-elimination format. After the Colfax loss, the Mules lost to Lind-Ritzville-Sprague 25-15, 21-25, 25- 15, 25-18.