Wildcat volleyball works hard for sweep

The Mount Si Wildcats girls' volleyball team struggled at times, but did enough to sweep the Sammamish Totems on the road in three games in Kingco 3A conference volleyball action last week (25-10, 25-20, and 25-17).

The problem the Wildcats faced in the match, according to coach Bonnie Foote, was passing.

"It's [a] little frustrating just because we're a better passing team than what we showed," said Foote.

Senior setter Maggie Olson also thinks the team has to play better if it wants to beat the best.

"We need to work a lot harder still though if were going to be ready for Skyline, Mercer Island and Cedarcrest because that was not our best match," said Olson.

Game one was all Wildcats, led by the serving of middle blockers senior Chandra Rappin and junior Marissa Hill, who each recorded two aces early in the match. Hill added a couple of huge kills in the game and the Wildcats rolled out to a 15-5 lead, which they never relinquished.

Game two started out rosy for Mount Si as the team jumped out to a 12-5 lead. The Totems then crept back into the game, only to have Hill score two straight kills to help the Wildcats back out to a cushy 18-9 lead.

Things then got interesting. With junior middle blocker Erin LeVon on serve for the Totems, Sammamish scored four straight points. After LeVon lost serve, Wildcats' server Maggie Olson recorded an ace to extend the lead once again for Mount Si. Sammamish tried to make things close again, surviving three straight game points before a kill by Wildcat junior outside hitter Ashley Svarthumle dashed the Totems hopes.

The third game, like the previous two, started out strong for Mount Si as the team, backed up by a huge performance by Boals on serve and up front offensively, blew out to a 13-5 lead. Things held steady until the Wildcats lost serve up 18-9 when Totem sophomore middle blocker Alicia Pelton scored a kill. Then with her teammate, junior outside hitter Laura Mercier on serve, the Totems went on a 6-0 run, helped by three Mercier service aces.

The Totems kept up the pressure, ultimately getting to within three points of tying the game at 17-20 before the Wildcats put it away with a 5-0 run. Up 24-17 on match point, Boals' kill sealed the match for Mount Si.

"They never gave up. They were loud, they were scrappy, they wanted to win. And, you know, nobody's going to give us an easy match. Everyone wants to beat us, so we got to come out ready to play and come out a little bit more focused, I think," said Foote.

Asked if there was room for improvement, despite the strong 6-0 conference start, Olson was short and sweet.

"There is," Olson said.

The Wildcats now begin a stretch of three matches against the top teams from the Sky Division: Skyline, Mercer Island and Newport. The Skyline match is the lone home match of the threesome, which was scheduled for Tuesday, after the Valley Record's deadline. The Mercer Island match is Thursday, while the Newport match is Oct. 14.

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