Wildcat volleyball welcomes back coach

Despite Miranda Pratt's team-leading eight kills, the Wildcats volleyball team fell to the Newport Knights 25-23, 25-7 and 25-22. Alisha Larion had four kills and two service aces, and senior leader Faith Hutcherson pitched in 14 assists to pace the Mount Si efforts. Newport, along with Mercer Island, Issaquah and Skyline, are seen as the best teams in the league.

That second game was the story and Pratt had this observation: "I think we just couldn't adjust to the serving. We were in a bad rotation, we couldn't get out of it," Pratt said.

The Wildcats returned home Oct. 5 and hosted Bellevue. Mount Si head coach Bonnie Foote returned to the bench after her maternity leave and the Wildcats welcomed her back in style with a victory over the Wolverines. It was a little more difficult than expected; Mount Si won in four games, 25-9, 14-25, 25-12 and 25-19, as the team prepared for its toughest week of the season this week. Bellevue, not predicted to do much this season in Kingco 3A, only suited up eight players for the match.

"They played better tonight than we played against Newport, I'll say that. We got more involved with our offense. I think that our passing allowed us to get our offense going," Foote said.

The first game was all Wildcats as strong passing and serving keyed the first-game rout. Aces by Sine Schirmer, Rachel Brun and Pratt helped guide Mount Si. A Bellevue kill attempt sailed out of bounds on game point to close it out. Things were much different in game two. Mistakes the Wildcats weren't making in the first game they made in the second game, and that allowed Bellevue to pull away. A Wolverine kill sealed the second game and a 1-1 match tie.

Mount Si responded in games three and four, and a lot of it had to do with the play up front of freshman Robyn Schirmer. Her strong play helped lift the Wildcats in both games and Pratt praised her teammate. "Robyn's never played middle before and I think she did a wonderful job. She brought our team 10 points, something like that. She did pretty good for her first time," Pratt said. Robyn stepped in to fill the void left by her older sister Sine, who suffered an apparent minor knee injury. Foote was not sure of the extent of the injury.

Strong serving also was key in the late-game victories, as well. A Wildcat kill closed out game three, and a Pratt kill on the fifth match point gave the fourth game, and the match, to the Wildcats.

Robyn praised her teammates. "Tonight was very fun. I did make some mistakes, but I had the girls right behind me and they cheered me on all the way and I couldn't do it without my team," she said.

Brun believes that serving and passing are keys to consistency for this team, which seemed to have had some trouble with it last week considering the poor second games in both their matches. "Serving and passing is most important," Brun said. "We made all our serves in the first game, well most of them, and in the second game we started messing those up and we weren't siding out, and so when we didn't have possession of the ball it was harder for us to keep an even pace."

The Wildcats roll into their toughest week of the season this week. After having faced league preseason favorite Issaquah and their star senior Casi Schwisow Tuesday, the Wildcats host a well-coached Mercer Island squad Thursday at 6:45 p.m. Veteran Islander coach Dino Annest has built his team into one of the most consistently strong programs in Kingco 3A and his team is also considered among the elite teams in the league.

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