Sports

'Cats outlast Islanders in important volleyball win

As joint heads of the class in Kingco 3A volleyball, Mount Si and Mercer Island have developed an intense, sometimes heated rivalry over the past few seasons.

The two teams squared off Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Mount Si in their second and final regular season meeting of 2009. Action was not only spirited on the floor, but got controversial at times.

Action Tuesday paralleled the two teams' first meeting of the year in September at Mercer Island. As in that previous clash, the Wildcats were able to overcome all that and pull off the victory in the most important game of the season.

Mount Si took a hard-fought four-set win, 25-17, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23, and in the process took full control of the hunt for the Kingco regular season crown.

"I'm excited where we are, and I’m excited where we can be, because I know that we can get better,” said an elated Mount Si coach Bonnie Foote.

The Wildcats opened set one with the lead, and maintained that despite strong Islander play. However, Mercer Island made two key errors on rotations, costing them valuable points, helping to hand the set to Mount Si.

It was an even tighter second frame, one which the Islanders worked hard to get. The Wildcats forced Mercer Island to a third game point before a hitting error by Shelagh Macaulay handed the set to the visitors.

After an early see-saw battle to start the all important third stanza, Macaulay's kill at 9-9 gave Mount Si the lead, which they did not relinquish. The senior finished the frame off with a block.

With things getting closer to resolution, the gymnasium got loud as both teams’ fans made their presence felt. The behavior of some Islander supporters was an issue in the first match, and an incident early in the fourth set re-opened that. Just after the frame started, with the score 1-1, a MI fan yelled "Time out!" while Aubrey Larion was serving for Mount Si. It did not affect the serve, but Macaulay hit the ball into the net, giving the Islanders the point.

It prompted a discussion between Foote and officials which also included Mercer Island coach Susan Rindlaub. As a result of the meeting, former Islander coach Dino Annest, who was also there but as a school representative, was asked to go quiet the fans down. The incident almost backfired on the Islanders, as it appeared to affect Mercer Island more than it did Mount Si.

Surviving that was a sign the team is maturing, according to one Wildcat player.

"We’re growing up as individuals and as a team,” said sophomore Sarah McDonald. “When we played them the first time, they really got into our heads and really messed us up the first couple of games. But (tonight) we just came (out), and we’re like, ‘We’re in our home gym; we can’t let them get to us. We just got to push it in,’ and we did."

MI and Mount Si played the frame down to the wire, but with the game tied 23-23, Macaulay's kill set things up, and an Islander error closed it out. Macaulay had six kills and 10 digs.

"Tonight's game shows us that we really can do it,” said Gogan, who finished with 19 kills and 10 digs.

“They deserve to be where they are," Foote added. "They’ve worked hard in practice. We focus on improving every day and they’re getting better.”

In other action, Mount Si beat Sammamish last Thursday, 25-13, 25-16, 25-20.

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