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Heartbreaker on the Island

Varsity hangs tough after Huard injury but succumbs in 5;  JV wins again

The Bellevue Wolverines travelled to Mercer Island on Wednesday for the much anticipated rematch with the Islanders. A Wolverine win would put them in a tie for first with MI.

As is the norm when you take on the Islanders, the crowd was raucous which made for a great atmosphere worthy of the importance of the match. The game started a little sloppy with both teams making serving and hitting errors. The game got its wake up call after a Callie Weber ace was followed up by a stuff block by Naomi Chen-Mallouk and the score was 4-3. Chen-Mallouk got two more kills surrounding a Sophia Knapp ace and the score was knotted at 7’s. Holly Huard got her first kill which started a BHS run culminating in a Huard ace and Bellevue was up 13-8 prompting a MI time out. Weber got her first kill to make it 14-10 and when she ripped one cross court a bit later the lead was stretched to 18-11. The Wolverines kept riding Weber as she produced a couple of kills but the lead had shrunk to 21-18. MI had made it all the way back tying the match at 21-21. A Chen-Mallouk kill made it 22-21. Weber then got a smash from the back row to make it 23-21. A BHS serving error was erased with a Huard kill for a side out at 24-22. But another service error closed the score to 24-23. Weber was able to take an Alexis Khuu set to the outside and the ball smashed into the block and out on the MI side and BHS had taken game one, 25-23.

The Islander's came out focused in game two and had leads of 1-4 and 2-6 before a Weber kill stopped the run. Huard got a block and a kill in a stretch to close the margin to 6-7. Jenna Keenan took a Khuu back set on the slide play to put it away and it was 8-8. That's when MI got going behind 6-4 right side hitter Tessa Fisk and the Islanders were out to a 10-17 lead. Huard did everything possible to bring BHS back with 2 kills and a block to close the lead to 15-19. The next play proved to be the pivotal one of the early match as Huard, who had found her groove and was a force MI was having trouble with, went up for a hit and came down wrong on her ankle. Holly had to leave the match and went straight to the ER to have her injury looked at. The loss of Huard was a huge blow and MI was able to play out the string and take game to, 20-25.

Coach Kalingo shuffled his line up to fill in for the injured Huard. Mercer Island took advantage of shook up Wolverine squad and after a 4-4 tie ran away with the lead. BHS came back a little but the game was too far gone and MI took it, 15-25.

Late in game three however, BHS started playing with more confidence. That rolled into game four as after a Weber kill and a block BHS was up 2-1. A Keenan kill overcame a MI run to make the score 6-7. Katie Sorrell smacked one to the deck and BHS was up to a 13-11 lead. Chen-Mallouk got the hit of the night as she took a perfect Khuu set and hit it straight down to the ten foot line to put the Wolverines up 15-12. Keenan backed up that point with a block and after an Islander hitting error the score was 17-12. Behind senior outside hitter and Cornell commit, Kelly Behrbaum, MI climbed back to a 20-18 score prompting a Bellevue time out. A Weber kill made it 21-18 and after each team had a net violation and a Mercer Island service error, BHS was up 23-19. That’s when Sophomore Julia Bray, filling in for Huard, made her presence known getting kills on the final two points and Bellevue had taken game four, 25-19.

Bray kept it going with a back row kill to start off game five. A Behrbaum kill was answered with a Weber kill to make the game 2-1. Kennan got the serve and had it working. She aced it to go up 3-1 and after a MI double hit and a net violation, a Weber cross court beauty made it 6-1. Khuu produced an awesome back set that Chen-Mallouk got all of putting the Wolverines up 8-2. Khuu then got an ace of her own to make it 9-2. Thats when Fisk got hot again and used some deft tips and power hits and MI closed it to 9-6 and a coach Kalingo time out. Hannah Geffe passed to Khuu who utilized the middle to get it to Sorell to put it away for a 10-6 lead. A Fisk kill was followed with an MI ace. A BHS double hit violation was called and the lead was down to 10-9. MI hits it wide for a 11-9 lead. Fisk tipped another one to make it 11-10 and then MI punished a BHS over pass to tie it up at 11. Bellevue then hit one into the net to make it 11-12. Bray passed to Khuu who found Chen-Mallouk for a much needed kill to knot it at 12’s. With Carly Burns serving, Knapp dug a hard smash and passed it perfectly to Khuu who found Bray and BHS was up 13-12. Mercer Island got back to back Behrbaum kills to take it to 13-14 and serving for the match. However, Burns took the serve and passed it the Khuu who again found Bray to tie it at 14-14. A Bellevue serve landed just an inch out and the score was 14-15. The game was ended with a questionable double hit call by the referee and MI had the 14-16 win and the 3-2 match final.

It’s hard to describe the quality of volleyball if you went there. The front row blocking by Chen-Mallouk, Huard, Weber, Khuu, Sorell, and Kennan was key to containing Mercer Island’s great hitters. Keenan lead the squad with 3 blocks. The back row was on fire as well as Knapp, Burns, Geffe, and Weber were digging up everything. Particularly, Knapp seemed to be everywhere Behrbaum was hitting as she lead the team with a season high 28 digs. The team had many pancakes that the Chace’s Corral would be proud to serve. Khuu was again the engine that drove the team with 43 assists, one off her season high. Weber was a force from all over the court and lead the squad with 23 kills. Huard was one the way to her best volleyball of the year and her loss was felt. However, Bray and Geffe showed the quality of the team’s depth and they were able to take over and get the match to a five game thriller. Chen-Mallouk produced the prettiest hits of the night and Kennan and Sorell didn’t miss from the middle when they got the call. Finally, the fortitude and character that the team showed coming back after the loss of Huard was amazing and if you are a fan of the Wolverines you should be proud. The good news is it looks to be a bad sprain and we are all hoping and rooting for Holly to be able to get back on the court soon. 

Please come join us this Wednesday where we celebrate our 8 seniors as they play their last game in the BHS gym against Juanita. 

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