Ferndale VB team

Ferndale placed third in the 3A state tournament after the two-day set of matches came to a close on Nov. 19. It was their fifth top-eight placement since 2015, and best of the five. (Connor J. Benintendi/Lynden Tribune)

Ferndale takes third in 2021 3A state tournament, trophied previous four trips

YAKIMA -- The Golden Eagles’ exceptional season ended with hardware.

No. 3 Ferndale swept No. 8 Auburn Riverside (25-19, 25-23, 25-23) in the third/fourth place match to take third overall in the 3A state tournament on Friday, Nov. 19.

Auburn Riverside entered the match at 20-4, having just come off a 3-0 loss to No. 4 Mead who went on to win the 3A state championship.

It may not have been the state title trophy they were hoping for, but it was a valiant run by the Golden Eagles who returned home with a trophy. The seniors went out on a high note, and the underclassmen gained invaluable experience.

This Ferndale team managed an outstanding season that saw them finish 19-2 overall, as well as post a 14-1 record against Northwest Conference opponents.

The last time the Golden Eagles didn’t bring home a trophy was in 2015. They have since placed in the top eight every year since. This, however, was their best placement during that stretch.

Ferndale has been all over the board in the last five years that there has been a tournament, omitting 2020 when it was cancelled due to COVID-19.

In 2019 they finished fifth, while in 2018 the team finished fourth after losing 3-0 to Capital in the third/fourth place match. The previous season they took sixth, and in 2016 they finished eighth. 

Needless to say, the Golden Eagles have made their tournament runs count in recent years. 

Many of this year’s seniors were members of that 2018 loss in the third/fourth place match. They made good on their second opportunity.

Deservedly so, Ferndale had the most 2021 All-Northwest Conference selections among the member schools with four, as voted on by the coaches. It was a stacked roster worthy of the nominations.

Senior outside hitter Kaelee Bungard, senior middle hitter Avery Schneider and senior outside hitter Alyvia Semu each made All-NWC First Team. Junior setter Brooklyn Cagle was named to the second team. 

The Golden Eagles will lose Semu, Schneider, Bungard, and middle blocker Ellie Call to graduation. However, they will have 10 returning players going into next season.

That group includes Cagle as well as sophomore defensive specialist Mallory Butenschoen, junior defensive specialist Aysia Mitchell and junior outside hitter Morgan Hayes — all of which were key pieces to the team’s success this season.