Every high school volleyball team wants to be playing its best as the regular season winds down and the post-season tournaments begin.
That is surely the case for the Silverdale Lady Seahawks as they won a big match at home against district foe Notre Dame.
The Lady Irish had prevailed by a 3-1 margin in an earlier match at Notre Dame, so the outcome of Tuesday’s match determined the second and third seeds for that tournament.
Notre Dame didn’t win this latest meeting, but chances are good they will be the second seed after the Lady Seahawks needed five sets to prevail.
Notre Dame won the first two by scores of 25-23 and 25-16. Silverdale then settled down and played some serious volleyball, evening the match with identical 25-18 scores in the third and fourth sets before pulling out a 15-13 win in the fifth.
It was one of those matches where either team could have won, but the final point just happened fo fall Silverdale’s way.
“We’re finally starting to put it all together,” said first-year Silverdale coach Renae Marcus after her team improved to 22-7 overall and 7-3 in district play.
“I thought we showed a lot of mental toughness and we hit the ball hard the entire time, but these girls are finally beginning to realize just what they’re capable of doing. We didn’t want to leave anything out there and we didn’t, but we just had to play our game tonight. I think we’re peaking at the right time.
“Katie Patrick had a great match, but she’s one of our seniors and a true leader. She hit the ball hard and she also blocked well. I think it was appropriate for her to score the winning point, but I’m very pleased with them all as they responded with poise and mental aggressiveness.
“For us to be able to come back and win the last three sets was huge, but we knew we couldn’t afford to take a single point off and we didn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t meet them again next week,” she concluded with a smile.
The Lady Irish have been in a low spot in recent weeks as they just haven’t played very good volleyball, but coach Dan Clotfelter saw a different group on Tuesday night.
“These are just two evenly matched teams and I felt like which team could grind it out the longest would win this match. We haven’t played very well for the past week and a half, but I thought we played much better tonight. You have to play well to beat a team like Silverdale, but a match like this just brings things back into focus.
“Our serving wasn’t as good as I would have liked, but we have time to correct those mistakes. That tournament next week should be a good one,” he added after his team’s record dropped to 24-7 overall and 6-3 in the district.
Jazzmyne Watkins got the winning kill in the first set while Mackenzie Johnson got the honors in the second set.
The Lady Seahawks might have been down at that point, but they were a long way from out as they scored seven of the first eight points and only trailed twice before winning on three straight Lady Irish hitting errors.
Silverdale had another fast start in the fourth set with a 6-2 lead early. Notre Dame’s only lead came on a kill from Lindsey Burns for a 9-8 lead, but the Lady Seahawks regained the upper hand at 10-9 and never looked back.
The Lady Seahawks never trailed in the final set, although a seemingly-comfortable 9-4 lead slowly evaporated as Notre Dame knotted the score at 10-10 on a kill from Mackenzie Johnson.
A kill from Caroline Dale gave the home team the lead at 11-10 while another kill from Savannah Williams made it 13-10.
A service error by Silverdale made it 13-11 and a kill from Johnson got Notre Dame within a point, but a service error by the Lady Irish gave the Lady Seahawks a 14-12 lead. A kill from McKenna Brown got Notre Dame within a point, leading to a Silverdale timeout, but coach Marcus instructed her team to get a good pass and to hit the ball hard on the final point.
Patrick took that instruction to heart and ended the match with her 15th and final kill.
Patrick led the way for her team with those 15 kills while Kenzie Manning was also effective with 10 kills and 16 digs. Mallory Neal had 19 digs and Savannah Gann 17 assists while Ana Vereen chipped in with 15 assists and 11 digs.
Johnson was tops for Notre Dame with 20 kills while Watkins was next with 12. Ally Mildenberger had 23 digs while Sarah Desai finished with 32 assists. Brown had 20 digs and 11 kills.
NOTRE DAME STATS:
McKenna Brown – 20 digs, 11 kills, 2 blocks
Sarah Desai – 6 digs, 32 assists
Ally Mildenberger – 23 digs, 1 ace, 1 kill, 1 assist
Gwen Jimenez – 13 digs
Emmeline Crisp – 4 kills, 3.5 blocks
Mary Fillauer – 7 digs, 1 kill, 19 assists
Maggie Martin – 1 dig, 2 kills, 1 block, 2 aces
Lindsey Burns – 5 kills, 4.5 blocks, 1 ace
Jazzmyne Watkins – 5 digs, 12 kills, 1 block, 2 aces
Mackenzie Johnson – 20 kills, 1 assist, 9 blocks.
Ana Vereen – 15 assists, 11 digs, 3 kills, 1 ace
Caroline Dale – 4 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks
Savannah Gann – 17 assists, 6 digs
Mallory Neal – 19 digs
Kenzie Manning – 10 kills, 16 digs, 1 ace
Katie Patrick – 15 kills, 4 blocks, 4 digs
Bree Sexton – 4 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs
Emily Wells – 5 digs
Savannah Williams – 3 kills, 4 digs
Emmaline Hale – 4 aces.
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)