State champs!

Bothell High wins school’s first state volleyball title.

With a three-set sweep in the championship match, Bothell High notched its first state volleyball title on Nov. 20.

To close out the 4A tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome, No. 1-seeded Bothell defeated No. 2 Curtis, 25-17, 28-26, 25-15, and hoisted the first-place trophy. In their four-game run at state on Nov. 19-20, the Cougars beat Graham Kapowsin, 3-1 in the semifinals, Gonzaga Prep, 3-2, and Kennedy Catholic, 3-1.

Bothell rebounded from a one-set deficit and took the final three sets to defeat Graham Kapowsin. Against Gonzaga Prep in its second match, Bothell was down 2-1 in sets and rallied to win the final two sets. Against Kennedy Catholic in the opener, Bothell took a 2-0 set lead and eventually closed the door on its opponent.

The Cougars finished their season with a 30-3 overall record and won the KingCo and District 1/2 tournament championships. Previously at state, Bothell brought home trophies for placing sixth and eighth twice.

Head coach Russell Monsef said he is proud of the girls for their accomplishments this season. They also earned the school’s first district title to go along with another in a long line of KingCo championships over the years.

“We knew this team was special, as we have multiple returners who are three-plus-year starters that play at a high level,” said Monsef, adding that senior Jenna Legault has already committed to play at Fresno State, and multiple juniors are also looking to compete at the next level.

Legault, a captain, outside hitter and first-team all-KingCo selection, finished the tournament with eight aces, 73 kills, 11 blocks and 66 digs.

Also delivering solid performances at state were:

Senior setter, captain and all-league honorable mention Jordan Hayden with seven aces, six kills, 97 assists and 46 digs. Senior middle blocker Amalie Onener with five kills and 15 blocks. Senior opposite hitter Sienna Bell with two aces, three kills, two blocks and four digs — with all but one ace in the final.

Junior outside hitter and first-team all-leaguer Haedyn Bambolo with seven aces, 53 kills, nine blocks and 67 digs. Junior middle blocker and second-team all-leaguer Beatrice Anitei with 15 kills and 14 blocks. Junior setter and second-team all-league selection Maleah Andrews with seven aces, 83 assists and 30 digs. Junior outside hitter and all-league honorable mention Nora Hayd with four aces, 41 kills, eight blocks and 44 digs.

Monsef, who was joined on his coaching staff by Marlie Davis, Michelle Westlund and Desiree Diego, said the Cougars rose to the occasion during big matches. They beat both Mount Si and Lake Stevens by 3-0 set scores to win the league and district tournaments, respectively.

“At the state tournament, day one was a little bumpy, as we were both fighting tough competition and a little nerves; however, we settled down in the finals and played some of our best volleyball of the season,” Monsef said.

It’s been special for Monsef and Davis to watch the majority of the girls on the roster grow through playing on one of their club teams and/or attend elementary clinics. Some of the players began their Bothell volleyball journey as early as the fourth grade.

Davis, who has also been the varsity head coach over the years, dug into her past to set the stage for what happened just over a week ago.

“1994 is when the journey to this accomplishment started,” Davis said. “I was honored to be hired by an iconic volleyball coach Russ Kerwin. Monsef joined our coaching team soon thereafter and we established a rich winning tradition under the tutelage of Kerwin. We share this victory with Kerwin.”

The Cougars and Davis are soaking up all the joy and emotion of winning a state crown. The girls put copious hours into their craft and worked diligently to establish a rapport on the court that pushed them toward success, Davis said.

“I kept telling them to trust their training and ‘play free’…and look what happened. What a journey. Stars lined up for us and what great memories made for these girls,” she said.