Varsity vs. Interlake 10/6

Our gals took us on quite a ride tonight!  From our first point on the board behind a Callie Weber smash, to the final game/match point confidently crushed by veteran Ally Witham – the Wolverines showed us what tenacity, team-work, and selflessness leads to – a fantastic match WIN.   We needed confidence and our girls playing their best to face and beat this Interlake team that barely squeaked by us and handed us a gym-silencing 14-16 loss in 5 games at home earlier in September.  It was time to even the score and we did just that! 

 

Game one was evenly matched with back and forth scoring until Interlake pulled slightly ahead 4-8 behind the strong serving of their senior libero.  It was just enough to put us slightly out of sync which   led to impossible Saint hits to dig despite incredible back row effort!  A smart play by libero Emily Burns, a great block by 5’6” setter Alexis Khuu, and a huge smash by Callie Weber got us back into the game at 15-15.  Interlake pulled together another strong run of points until Ally Witham smartly placed a tip to start to turn the tide our way at 17-19 as she followed up with strong serving to get us to 19-19 tie.  From there we leaned on solid teamwork of back row play including Katie Griffin’s passes, a great variety of sets by Alexis, fantastic hits by Iva Dedijer and Witham, and Weber’s strong and steady serving to get ahead 22-20 and we never slipped behind!   Burns’s incredible serves kept us ahead 24-22, we had a tough net call against us to take it 24-23, and they missed a serve for the 25-23 WIN.  Our bigger-than-Interlake crowd which included many JV/C gals and families were fabulous to cheer our girls through game one before having to head home to rest and do homework.   

 

Game two started out with close scoring and included highlights of a Khuu ace to start the game, an incredible dig by Bunrs of Interlake’s huge hitter, and consistent/confident net play by senior middle Denali Conway.   We led at 8-5 but somehow lost momentum and never got it fully back after staying  toe-to-toe with the Saints 8-8, 9-9, 10-10, 11-11.  Even though we pulled together strong offensive runs, we could not get past incredible defensive plays by the Saints’ excellent libero, a huge Saints block, and solid, error-free serving that got Interlake ahead of us 11-16.   Weber had excellent moments down the stretch of the game including a couple of great hits and a strong service run to get us to 18-23 but it was too far of a deficit to come any closer.  Despite solid defense, setting, hitting, and excellent cheering and support from our amazing bench, we lost 18-25.

 

Game three was OURS.  Selfless, gritty play saw us through and our big, loud, and proud crowd of 18 parents (as quoted by Doda Dedijer) was happy to witness it all!   Early in the game, we fought through tough Saint serving and stayed in it through excellent passing that led to great quick sets by Khuu which set up excellent CRUSHES from Griffin, then Conway, then Weber to get us to 4-5.  Another run of tough serving that was just enough to keep us off our perfect offensive sync and got the Saints ahead 4-9 before we steadily fought back behind two big blocks with Iva Dedijer/Khuu combo and a great Weber pass, quick set and Conway middle CRUSH to get Khuu behind the serve line for a four point run to get us to 12-12.  Senior Katie Griffin confidently led our offense in that run with a massive hit at 10-12 and a follow up with brilliantly placed change-up of a tip to dink our way into 12-12 tie.  A huge defensive dig by Burns led to a great set and crush by Conway that kept us solidly in it 13-13.  Griffin served a strong point 14-13 and then we hung in there through back and forth play.  Another solid back row pass, quick set, and strong hit by Iva got us back to 17-17 tie.  Livvy Sergeeff came in with her massive serve and we had a net call that went our way which put us up 19-18 and the momentum was ours from there.  Weber ACED her serve and Sergeeff and Khuu had an incredible dig/defensive save to get us to 21-18. Griffin crushed the ball to get us to 22-19 and importantly placed Burns at service line where she ticked off three incredible net-skimming serves that kept the Saints scrambled offensively.  Conway supported that strong serving with smart, solid, confident net play and we won game 25-19!

 

Game four was strange.  Burns started us off strong with two solid serves including an ACE to get us up 2-0 and then we held steady with evenly matched scoring and serve errors on both sides of the ball to put us to 4-4 tie.  Conway stepped up with a huge BLOCK and then Witham got behind the service line to ACE and solidly serve us to an 8-5 lead until we lost a great long rally.  Two huge digs by Weber in the back row kept us in the lead 10-8 followed by another Khuu block.  Strong serving again by Burns had us ahead by 4 at 12-8.  Tight back and forth play included a Griffin crush at 13-10 and a beautiful pass, set, middle hit from Conway to keep us ahead 15-13.  Sergeeff came in to ACE us to 16-13 lead.  Somehow that was our last point!  Unbelievably, Interlake came back with 12 points in a row to win 16-25.  By my account there was no defining moment, no defining reason for this slide.  We tried a slight change in back row line up bringing in Sophia Knapp at DS, a time out at 16-22, but it was just not coming together for our team in any way and Interlake’s solid defense and their hitting just kept us out of any sync whatsoever.  It literally just got away from us. 

 

Game five was incredible!  Our bench and crowd stayed positive and helped our girls on the court to shake off game 4 and come out strong in this final match-declaring game.  Griffin started us off with a great hit 1-0 and we had a long rally end with a perfect tip by Withm for a 3-2 lead.  Knapp came into the game with a well placed serve to get us 4-2.  We then faced the same Saint server that had just ticked off 12 in a row and we immediately set up a Weber CRUSH to keep that from happening again.  Wolverines up 5-3 and a great dig by Knapp led to Weber's wind up that looked like a crush again but she fooled them and switched to a perfectly placed tip for 6-3 lead.   Back and forth again as the Saints continued with solid serve receive/defense from their libero.  We saw the wacky play of the night as Khuu had a block/hit off her HEAD for a 7-5 lead!  The Saints continued to fight and stay in it.  Our bench and crowd continued to support and cheer!  Weber had great back row hits all night and one here that got us 9-7 lead.  Burns’ solid serving continued and Witham had a huge save that led to a Griffin hit for 10-7.  Saints answer 10-8 and then a great give-and-go by Weber passing it to Khuu set back to Weber for another back row hit!  Conway owns a middle hit and we are up 12-8.  Saints battle back again behind solid defense and their huge hitter #14 to get it to 12-12 until Burns has a huge dig to get us the serve back 13-12.  What a nail-biter to the end!  Saints tie it up 13-13 and Witham places the perfect tip for 14-13 lead!  Game point and coach sends in birthday girl Knapp to serve, Saints get it back but we set up a great pass, set, and Witham CRUSHES the ball to win the game.  15-13 MATCH Win.

Incredible match and a great showing of phenomenal teamwork amongst the girls on the court and the girls on the bench!  The crowd was thrilled and I know Sophia Knapp couldn’t have asked for a better way to end her Sweet Sixteenth Birthday!

Game 1 against the Interlake Saints started slowly tonight  with Interlake jumping out to a 5 point lead quickly.  With help from a kill by Jenna and timely block by Naomi, the Wolverines were able to pull back within 5.  But the Saints rallied again and overcame the serving of the Wolverines to win the first game 21-25. 

 

Game 2 started as the first did for the Wolverines.  However, the Wolverines continued to pressure the Saints with repeated kills and consistent serving from Jenna, strong defensive play by Jo, and multiple blocks by Naomi.  Morgan's serving helped tie the game and Hannah's 4 service points at the end pushed the Wolverines over the top with a 25-21 victory in Game 2.

 

With the teams tied 1-1, game 3 was a nail biter with a point or two separating the scores throughout the game.  Morgan's and Hannah's consistent serving forced the Saints errors and the Wolverines pulled out the 3rd game by a narrow margin 16-14.