EPHRATA, Wash. — You could say College Place High School’s volleyball team already knows all about starting strong. 

Finishing might need a little more time.

The Hawks took the first set in a best-of-three four times in a row to begin this season here on Saturday in the Ephrata Invitational Tournament, but they ended up winning only two of five matches.

Pool play saw both Cheney and Kittitas come back to down the Hawks in their respective matches.

College Place wound up losing to the Cheney junior varsity, 24-26, 26-24 and 16-8.

Kittitas beat the Hawks likewise, 14-25, 25-15 and 15-13.

College Place regrouped to make short work of its next two opponents, finishing pool play with a 25-17 and 25-16 sweep of Waterville-Mansfield before entering a bracket to oust Cle Elum, 27-25 and 25-16, in the semifinals.

Finishing the day up against Lake Roosevelt for the Bronze Bracket title — along with a shot lifting the College Place record for the day over .500 — the Hawks instead fell in straight sets, 28-26 and 25-23.

The Hawks had a 2-3 record at day’s end, but coach Angie Potts still liked their overall performance.

“This is the first tournament CPHS has been a part of during the regular season schedule, so it was a great experience for the girls,” Potts said. “I was really impressed with their play the whole day. 

“We had some runs where we struggled with passing and dug ourselves a hole in terms of falling behind in the score, but the girls regrouped really well and made things competitive,” Potts said. “We finished with a great match against Lake Roosevelt, and are looking forward to this week.”

The Hawks will host their next match Thursday, taking on Royal in a South Central Athletic Conference showdown.

Kristen Lara finished the Ephrata Invitational with seven kills for College Place while teammate Madi Neil 15 aces, 10 kills and 54 assists.

Makayla Thomas gave the Hawks 33 digs, eight kills and six aces, Ellie Christensen had 24 kills and six aces, Vanessa Rodriguez tallied 18 kills and 17 aces, Susanna Bauman added 35 assists, Zoe Hardy put up 19 kills and 13 aces, Cali Long had 10 kills.

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