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COEUR D’ALENE — The Kimberly High School volleyball team fell painfully short of the 3A state title match, but it left the tournament with a third-place trophy — its best finish this decade.

Kimberly beat Timberlake in four sets but lost to South Fremont in five sets Saturday at Lake City High School. The Timberlake win guaranteed at least a third-place finish for the Bulldogs (18-3), who hadn’t gotten that far since 2009.

On Friday, Kimberly swept Timberlake in the first round, lost to South Fremont in the quarterfinals and beat Fruitland in a loser-out match. The Fruitland win set up Saturday’s rematch with the White Tigers, who the Bulldogs beat again, this time 25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-15.

Against Timberlake, Desi Overacre tallied 23 kills and 29 assists, Zoey Brown boomed 14 kills, Hannah Frey had 10 assists, Demee Rosenkrance had 25 digs, Kirie Taylor had 15 digs and Aspen Askew had 11 digs.

That victory set up another rematch, and this one went better than the first. South Fremont beat Kimberly in four sets in the quarterfinals, but the Cougars needed five on Saturday. The Bulldogs gutted out a fourth set victory to stay alive, but they fell in a fairly close fifth set. The final score was 25-17, 18-25, 13-25, 27-25, 11-15.

“We competed really well with South,” Kimberly coach Lawrence Pfefferle said over the phone. “Overall, it was a really positive experience, and I’m really proud of our girls.”

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Against South Fremont (which lost to Sugar-Salem in the title match), Brown had 18 kills, Overacre had 10 kills and 33 assists, Rosenkrance had 32 digs and Askew had 15 digs.

Pfefferle was Kimberly’s head coach in 2009, when the Bulldogs were swept by St. Maries in the 3A state title match. They made several trips back to state but never cracked the top three. Until Saturday.

“We coached these kids when the seniors were sophomores and made it to the state tournament,” Pfefferle said. “They were very coachable, and we just enjoyed the ride they took us on.”

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