The Ellensburg High School volleyball team already completed their goal, and that was to place at state. Winning the first two games on Friday, promised them that.

But in their game for third and fourth place after their loss against Lynden High School Saturday morning, senior Tia Andaya made sure that they weren’t going to endure another loss.

Bulldogs earned third place honors in the 2A state playoffs, defeating Columbia River High School 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 27-25).

Ellensburg had to go the distance in the first game against Lynden, they took a 2-0 lead, but the Lions fought back and took the last three sets to advance them to the championship game.

And again, Columbia River was threatening to push the match to a fifth set holding a 24-23 lead in the fourth set. All they needed was one point.

Andaya didn’t allow that, slamming a kill in the corner to tie the set. The Chieftains again took a point and the Gonzaga commit answered right back. She followed with yet another kill and junior Payton Lyyski ended the set with a block to give the Bulldogs a match triumph.

“It’s going to be tough to lose her in the program,” head coach Debbie Landrie said.

Andaya, the co-player of the year in the Central Washington Athletic Conference (CWAC), was quiet most the match, not able to find any gaps between Columbia River. But towards the end, she showed what a culprit she is to her opponents.

Fatigue started to catch up with Ellensburg. Their morning match was the first time this season Ellensburg had to go all five sets and Columbia River nearly pushed it into another one. In the Chieftains’ first match loss versus Ridgefield High School, they had to go all five as well.

Landrie wasn’t sure the result might have been the same if they had to go five once again.

“The physical fatigue did get to me a little bit, really just because it was my last match ever as an Ellensburg Bulldog,” Andaya said. “I just really had to dig deep and find something to pull out.”

Losing Andaya will be difficult to replace. But the Bulldogs rostered nine juniors, most with state experience and are optimistic they can be right in the mix next season.

Junior Shauny Fisk and Lyyski were both first-team all-conference this season along with Andaya. Second-team all-conference was pegged to junior Grace Oldham and an honorable mention was awarded to junior Maia Valencia.

“Future looks good,” Fisk said. “It will be tough without Tia (Andaya), but we should be good, we got good freshmen coming in, too.”

After their loss to Lynden in the semi-finals, the girls looked subdued, but Landrie knew the competition would be tough and was confident they would keep their heads up going into their last game of the year.

Andaya leaves Ellensburg as the only senior and has been hanging around the program before she officially enrolled at Ellensburg. She has been to state four times and her freshman year, they finished second. Last two years, they didn’t bring back a trophy.

An emotional Andaya said this year was more special than any other.

“I just love my team so much, we have been through a lot together — and now it’s over,” she said.

Andaya totaled 36 kills in the two matches Saturday along with 39 assists. Valencia notched 44 assists.

In both games, the Bulldogs had a plethora of digs, 84 in the first game and 99 in the second. Junior Leah Stueckle tallied 44 on the day, Oldham notched 41.

Lyyski had eight blocks total, her last one coming on the Bulldogs’ last match point against Columbia River.

Ridgefield took home the 2A state title, defeating Lynden 3-1.

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