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"Spikers stopped short, but stun state champsThe Spartans stunned the state's defending champs before bowing out."
"No doubt, the members of the Bainbridge High School volleyball team are disappointed that they fell a mere thirteen points short of a berth to the state 3A tournament.The Spartans, winners of their first two matches, fell in their third against archrival Sequim in three sets to finish just shy of a berth in the volleyball version of the Sweet Sixteen.What should keep them smiling through a busy offseason of club play, however, is remembering how they got to the brink - with a stunning come-from-behind triumph over defending state champion Fife in a long day of West Central District pool play Saturday on the Trojans' home court.The defining moments in the six-team tourney came in the deciding second and third games against the Trojans. Fife, the Pierce County League's top seed, had won the first game handily, 15-7, and gotten a 13-9 edge in the second.It seemed inevitable that the stronger, faster Trojans would put the contest away and move on to another date with state destiny.It didn't happen.The Spartans somehow summoned up enough strength for a surprising swell of state-level play, getting six winning serves from sophomore Kristina Purdom and three sizzling kills from junior Sarah Frazee to stun the home crowd and force an equally thrilling tiebreaker game.Behind three kills from Frazee and clutch serving from substitutes Gretchen gaither and Shailah Maynard, the Spartans controlled the game down the stretch to adavance to a semifinal contest against top Olympic League seed Sequim - which won the other big thriller of Bainbridge's season, a five-set barnburner in the last week of the regular season.It was an amazing game, Bainbridge coach Julie Miller said. We talked it over during a timeout and I asked them how much they wanted it. Then they went out and showed how much. It's a big thing to beat a team that good.The Spartans stormed to a 5-0 lead in the opening match against Sequim behind steady serving from sophomore Carlie Miller. That lead dissolved at one point to a 10-9 deficit, but the service game of Michelle Purdom and the elevated kill efforts of sister Kristina gave Bainbridge back the lead - and, moments later, a 15-13 triumph.After that, however, Sequim settled down, using the superior three-headed kill machine of Olympic League MVP Megan Thompson, Erica Segle and Marielle Lopes to dispatch Bainbridge 15-9 and 15-6 to end the Spartans' season - and the prep careers of middle hitter Michelle Purdom and key sparkplug substitute Ashley Pyles. "