'Cats fall to undefeated Islanders

The Mount Si Wildcat girls' volleyball team went up against the undefeated Mercer Island Islanders last Wednesday night, but fell shot in three attempts to push them off their pedestals.

In the first game, with the score at 2-0 and some excellent back row coverage by Alison Neuenschwander, Lyndsey Hyatt and Jaymee Horstman, things were looking positive for the Wildcats. Kristen Everett and Stephanie Sales covered the net with a fierce twin-tower presence, but Mercer Island was able to slip by with the next two points to tie, and it wasn't long before the Islanders' well-orchestrated defense rallied past the Wildcats for the 15-7 win.

Mercer Island remained in control during the second game, jumping out to an 8-3 advantege. Following that the Cats gained two points to the Islanders' seven, losing the second game by a final score of 15-5.

Coach Bonnie Foote said she thought the girls came out onto the court lacking confidence about beating Mercer Island. She said the Wildcats were intimidated by the Islanders' undefeated records during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

"I think we came out very flat," Foote said. "I think our blocking and our defense struggled. We were late on our blocks and were just working on our transition game. We picked it up, but it was a little bit late."

The Wildcats came back with a vengeance in game three. They earned their first point with a Sales special down the middle of Islander territory added four more points to give them a 5-0 lead.

With Sales and Everett guarding the net, the team returned to the aggressive play it had demonstrated during the first game. But with the score at 7-5 in the 'Cats' favor, Mercer Island rallied.

The Islanders quickly tied the score at 7-7. The Cats pulled ahead by one point, with the help of a couple of side-outs and an awesome swat by Neuenschwander, but the team's luck ran out. Mercer Island scored seven more points to Mount Si's five. The Islanders stayed focused in the game and eventually took the lead, 14-13. On the next Mercer Island serve, the ball landed in a hole that was left open between two players near the Wildcats' front row, and the Islanders snagged the third win of the night by a score of 15-13.

Sales had 17 kills, one ace, one block and 11 digs. Horstman had six kills, three assists and nine digs. Everett had three kills, 29 assists, two blocks and seven digs. Maggie Olson had two kills, two aces and nine digs.

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