For the Mount Si girls volleyball team, the road to state ended last Saturday, Nov. 9, when the Wildcats fell in three matches to Seattle Prep, Holy Names and Bishop Blanchet. State was on the line.
Two nights earlier, Mount Si learned, reacted and gutted out a hard-fought win in match six of the Sea-King volleyball tournament.
The Mount Si girls used strong defense to a tough Bishop Blanchet team and used tactical kills to win in five on Thursday, Nov. 7.
“It was pulling together as a team, doing our jobs, and doing it well,” that led to success Thursday, said senior Haley Holmberg.
The Wildcats had to learn fast and step up quick to stay in this fight. Wildcat senior outside hitter Lindsay Carr led from the middle after the first set, in which the Braves raced to a win,12-25. Carr and junior Anna McCreadie normally finish Mount Si volleys with kills, but they brought their speed into play to dig and set, too, feeding shots to each other and Holmberg. Meanwhile, Liz Larson and Jenn Rogers were constantly diving, hitting the floor to pull off saves for the Wildcats.
She led scoring, with 26 kills and 15 digs; Holmberg had nine kills, McCreadie had six, and 35 assists, and Larson had four kills and 21 digs. Rogers had 16 digs.
"I need to put the ball away," Holmberg said of her mindset as hitter. "My team was depending on it. They got the ball to me, to do my job."
The Wildcats won the second and third sets, both 25-17, but fell in the third, 17-25, before rushing to take the crucial final one, 15-7.
Larson was downed in the fourth when she dove and landed on her sister's foot. The Braves took a knee for the minutes she was done, but Larson rose, and got back into the game a bit later.
Larson explained how the Wildcats took several plays before they realized a response to Blanchet's long-range service and controlled kills.
"They do hit differently from other teams we've played," she said. "They definitely spread their offense a lot more… We got a handle on what their offense was like. It made defense a lot easier for us."
Serving and passing strong, Katie Larson performed well against Blanchet on Thursday, and got a lot of praise from her teammates. She has been working hard in practices.
McCreadie slammed the last few kills to claim the win in the fifth set.
"I was just doing my job," McCreadie said. "Lindsay was putting up awesome sets. I was ready to be done."
"I want us to play Wildcat volleyball," said McCreadie, "and I want to see us make it to state. We're going to keep working hard."
"You go through tough times, you have to work through those. It's never going to be easy to win," said McCreadie.
"When we work as a team, we can push through it," said Katie Larson. "It's all about the right mindset."
The Mount Si varsity volleyball team ends their season with a 21-11 overall, record, 11-3 league. They took second place in the KingCo 3A league and won the league tournament last week. The Wildcats took sixth place in the district tournament.
Mount Si volleyball all-league selections included Carr as co-MVP, McCreadie on the first team, Liz Larson on the second team and Holmberg, who earned an honorable mention.
Above, Anna McCreadie serves against Bishop Blanchett. Expect the junior to lead the 2014 team.
Wildcats Liz Larson, Lindsay Carr, Katie McCreadie and Sara Brevick await a serve.
Wildcat players Katie Larson and Haley Holmberg, lower right, celebrate a point.
Lindsay Carr sets for Mount Si. Below, she celebrates a kill.
Haley Holmberg is stoked after a point.
Katie Larson in defensive mode.
Fabiola Reyes prepares to serve.
McCreadie and Liz Larson await a serve by Blanchet.
Jenn Rogers was on dig duty much of Thursday.