Wildcats win three of four against Newport

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SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcats hosted the Newport Knights last Tuesday night and came away with a four-set victory for their first league win.

Leading the team to victory was Stephanie Sales, the 6-foot-1 senior whose nickname "Slambula" echoed throughout the gym.

In the first game, Newport scored first but the 'Cats quickly answered, winning control of serve. Net blocks by Sales and Kristin Everett were key in the first game. The Wildcats pulled away with a slight lead midway through the game and eventually held a 12-6 lead on serves by Sales.

Newport battled back, eventually taking a one-point lead. With Maggie Olson serving, the 'Cats tacked on another point with a big block by the duo of Everett and Travis. The Knights had one more opportunity to pull it out, but another big block by the duo iced the 15-13 win.

In the second game, after an initial early flurry of four points, it was all Newport, and before long they had amassed an 11-4 lead. The 'Cats had a hard time capitalizing on their side-outs, which eventually allowed the Knights to take the game, 15-5.

The third game started with the Wildcats continuing to have problems profiting on their side-outs. The Knights quickly racked up seven points, forcing the Wildcats to call time-out.

Mount Si coach Bonnie Foote urged her team to stand tall.

"I told them it takes a lot of heart to not give up when they are down like that," she said. From that point on, with Sales serving, the Wildcats initiated a great comeback.

Six unanswered points later, the game was tied, with Newport finally winning a side-out. Both teams eked out one and two points per side.

The third game came down to a 14-14 tie. With "Slambula" Sales serving, the advantage was with Mount Si. Two serves later, the game was in the record book, with the 'Cats ahead in the match, two games to Newport's one.

With a 2-1 lead you would think the Wildcat's would let down slightly, but that was not the case. Mount Si jumped to a 12-2 lead on great serves by Jaymee Horstman, Alison Neuenschwander, Kristen Everett and Maggie Olson. The Newport coach was obviously not sure what was happening to his team and finally called a time-out.

The time-out seemed to work and allowed the Knights to get back in the game, 12-10. Each team traded serves from that point for a few volleys, but the 'Cats finally clinched it with Sales again serving, 15-11 for game, set and match.

"The biggest thing we have a problem with is we sometimes just don't know what it takes to be a winner," Foote said. "But this team showed real heart today, especially in that third game where they came back from being down."

"Sometimes we get in a funk when we are ahead; it's a kind of mindset," said Sales of her team after the game. "But we are all going for every ball and we work real hard."

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