Mount Si volleyball season over, Crusaders have Wildcats number, again

SNOQUALMIE - For the second straight year, the Mount Si Wildcats girls' volleyball season ended at the hands of the Eastside Catholic Crusaders of the Metro League.

The Crusaders were the No. 6 seed from Metro, but finished fourth in the tough Mountain Division of the Seattle-based league during the regular season. They defeated the Wildcats in four games in a first-round, loser-out match last Thursday at the SeaKing District Tournament at Liberty High School.

Eastside Catholic also eliminated Mount Si from the postseason in a loser-out game at the 2003 SeaKing Tournament.

It was not a good night overall for the Kingco 3A, as the Metro teams, particularly from the Mountain division, dominated. It was expected that teams from that division would pick up a majority, if not all, of the four state berths allotted to SeaKing for 3A girls' volleyball. In addition to the Wildcats' loss, Newport was eliminated in a first-round, loser out match by Seattle Prep, the Metro No. 5 seed. The Panthers finished third in the Mountain during the regular season. Holy Names, who was the Metro No. 7 seed and the fifth place Mountain team in the regular season, beat Mercer Island in a mild upset. That loss by the Islanders left Issaquah as the only Kingco 3A team still in the winners bracket headed into the weekend.

Blanchet and Bainbridge, two of the top 3A volleyball teams in the state, are also playing in the district tournament along with the Crusaders, Cougars and Seattle Prep.

Not counting their regular-season tournament play at both Fife and Mount Baker, the Wildcats finished 12-6 on the season, a wonderful accomplishment considering their early-season struggles.

With the loss of senior star Marissa Hill due to graduation, the Wildcats next season will need to fill another big hole in their lineup, coming off a season in which they had to fill two big holes vacated by the graduation of Maggie Olson, and Kayla Jayne, who did not play this season. Filling those two holes proved to be difficult, and filling Hill's shoes next season may prove to be just as tough. Faith Hutcherson may make a strong case to fill Hill's role next season. Hutcherson's play improved gradually during the course of the season and with a strong off-season, could be a player to watch.

With the departure of Emily White and Hill there are going to be a lot of unanswered questions about next season. Repeating the success of this season will depend on how well the younger players develop in the off-season.

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