Wildcat volleyball fights on without star player

Mount Si’s volleyball team has had to endure a few bumps in the road on the way to a Kingco title, which they were expected to lock up this week, most notably the loss of top player Zoe Gogan to a knee injury. But the Wildcats have showed they could win without her, and last Wednesday’s, October 13, game against Juanita may have been the best example yet.

In what was expected to be their toughest test without Gogan, who has been out the last couple of weeks with the injury and could be out the rest of the season, Mount Si dominated the Rebels on the way to a 25-14, 25-15, 25-19 three set sweep of a Juanita team which is among the top teams in Kingco. Leading the way were junior Sarah McDonald, with 15 kills, 15 digs and four aces, and Aubrey Larion with 16 kills and 13 digs. Coach Bonnie Foote was pleased. "For who we were, I didn’t know what was going to happen. Aubrey and Sarah both had double-doubles and they stepped up offensively,” Foote said.

Several other players had big nights as well; CWU bound senior Catie Fry, battling illness, pocketed 34 assists and 11 digs, and fellow senior Molly Hitch, filling in for Larion at the libero position while Larion takes over Gogan’s spot, had a season-high 16 digs. Hitch credited her team. "It was really a team effort. I think that the energy on the court was the best we’ve had all year,” Hitch said.

One possible reason for that may have been something Juanita did prior to the game. The Rebels recognized their top player, Dana Michels, for receiving an athlete of the week award in another newspaper, and that apparently lit a fire underneath a Mount Si team which may have been sensing a bit of disrespect coming from the other side. “It made us want to work really hard to do what we needed to do,” Hitch said.

The last two weeks have been a test of the team’s character as they have had to adjust to life without Gogan, but the team has showed a lot. "We showed ourselves that we are capable of being a strong all around team,” Hitch said. Foote also credits her players. "I think it’s a stroke of good kids who are competitive, they never give up, they fight,” she said.

It has been an interesting ride for a team which was expected to have calm waters throughout this season. In addition to Gogan’s injury, there’s been a thumb injury for Fry in addition to her latest illness, a separate illness affecting senior Baylee Sinner which has her out of action at the moment, and the departure of another senior, Erika Clark, from the team. But, the Wildcats aren’t going to lament about any of that, they are just going to play the hand they’re dealt. "This is our team, this is who we are,” Foote said.

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