The Wolverines come from two sets down to defeat the Islanders in a five set thriller on Dig Pink Night
It was the cheeks of the Bellevue Varsity Wolverines that wore a rosy pink after they upset the venerable Mercer Island Islanders at Dig Pink Night Tuesday evening.
Bellevue clawed back from two sets down to win the next three sets for the victory that snapped an Islanders’ win streak over Bellevue that has spanned many years.
Bellevue brought out the band, its students, families and alumni parents to fill the stands who’s spirit energized the Wolverines to believe they could accomplish what they haven’t done in recent memory: beat Mercer Island.
From the first serve, it was clear that the Wolverines were going to stand toe-to-toe with the unbeaten Islanders this evening. The Islanders were to be challenged entering the Bellevue gym without their number one and two setters on the court.
The first set opened with Bellevue overcoming a five point Islander advantage to stay close, and then tie the set at 21-21 before taking a 23-22 advantage. Mercer Island re-grouped during a time-out and then prevailed with a 24-26 set win.
The second set was much like the first, with Bellevue keeping pace with great play at the net and some of the best hitting of all season by Bellevue senior Katie Griffin. The powerful hitting and serving of M.I.’s division one-bound Jemma Yeadon at times was negated by several Islander rotation errors as the Islanders struggled to jell with substitute players for its injured setters. Bellevue succeeded in evening the set scores at 13-13, 18-18, and then pushing ahead to a 23-20 lead. The Islanders fought back to even at 24-24 and points were traded to a 26-26 standoff. The Islanders late comeback and momentum brought them a 28-26 set win.
In spite of the 0-2 set deficit the Wolverines and crowd continued their spirited enthusiasm and Bellevue squeaked out a third set victory to enable play to continue.
It may have been the third set win, or the pizza fueled crowd and band rocking in the stands, but it was clear the Wolverines were not going to let this one slip away.
In the fourth set, a kill by Griffin followed by a dink by Callie Weber brought Bellevue a 10-9 lead. A long serve by Mercer Island followed by a solid kill by senior Denali Conway gave the Wolverines a 13-10 advantage. More kills by Griffin paced points earned by the Islanders to keep Bellevue with a three-point advantage at 19-16. Mercer Island did what it had done in each of the previous sets and found a way to even the score late at 24-24. Points were then traded to a 27-27 standoff. This time, Bellevue was not to be denied. An Islander hit into the net, followed by a wide Islander hit allowed the Wolverines to scratch out a win to even the set score at 2-2.
The tie breaking fifth set saw Bellevue jump out to a 4-0 advantage, as the tiring Islanders are not used to long, close contests. The Islanders jumped ahead on the efforts of Yeadon, to take a two-point advantage at 7-9. Bellevue evened at 9-9 and went ahead 10-9 on a wild carom off the gym ceiling that was returned by Bellevue for a point. An Islander hit into the net, followed by hits by Weber and Griffin, brought Bellevue to the brink of a win at 13-10. The crowd went crazy as Bellevue extended its lead to 14-10. The Islanders managed another point and regained service, but a long hit by the Islander’s star Yeadon ended the set and match in Bellevue’s favor at 15-11 and also ended the Mercer Island’s win streak.
JV takes one set from Mercer Island
The JV Wolverines and coach Pearsall showed up ready for battle in their special pink jerseys for "Dig Pink" night. Several of the players had names printed on the program to dedicate their play on this night to friends and family effected by cancer. Dig Pink raises money to help those fighting the battle against cancer.
The Wolverine JV squad got off to a hot start in the first game by going up 2-0 off serves by Natalie Hayes. Mercer Island then went on quite a run until a great dig by Zoe Chen, set by Natalie Hayes and kill by Jordan Myers put a temporary stop to the bleeding down 9-5. Mercer Island took control of the game but Bellevue had a late rally with blocks by each of the Kennan sisters and another kill by Myers but it was not enough. First game final 25-14 MI.
Mercer Island started the second game with some great serves and ran off 4 quick points before a kill by Jenna Kennan got Bellevue on the board and their first chance to serve down 4-1. Mercer Island continued to serve strong and extended their lead to 18-4. Morgan Craig then took over for the Wolverines running off four points on excellent serves and good team play. In the end it was not enough to overcome the early deficit and MI wins game 2, 25-10
Coach Pearsall rallied the troops for game 3. BHS won the first point when Bethany Kennan put an errant MI pass back down for a point. Quality serves by Tayla Isensee put Bellevue up 4-1 early. The middle off the game was a back and forth battle. BHS is up 11-9 when Jenna Kennan runs off 2 great serves and points to bring it to 13-9. Bridget Conroy got the ball to serve with a 14-11 lead. A tough serve gets Mercer Island off balance and this game is finished the same way it started, with Bethany Kennan putting back and errant MI pass for the win. Game 3 ends 15-11 Bellevue.