LAKEWOOD - All season long, Sehome's volleyball team has struggled in the second game of its matches.
Fortunately for the Mariners, they pulled through to stay in contention to take home a trophy after sweeping White River of Buckley 25-15, 26-24, 25-18 in a consolation quarterfinal of the Class 2A State Volleyball Tournament.
Sehome came out with renewed energy on Friday, Nov. 9, at Lakes High School after falling to Washington of Tacoma 19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 28-26 earlier in the day.
"We had a rough morning, but I think we got rid of the nerves by the second game," Sehome coach Kristy White said. "We settled down and were able to control the ball and run our offense, and we didn't get too worked up about who was on the other side."
That wasn't the case in the opening round, when the Mariners took an early lead and then crumbled after the Patriots had some big hits and a key block that clearly rattled their hitters.
"Those last three games, we played as six different people," White said. "Really, we needed to play as a team, and that couldn't have hurt us more."
It's something that has plagued Sehome all year - whether they win or lose, the second game is a struggle.
"I think they let it get to them," White said. "Even though they may have a win under their belt, they go out and play hesitant."
After beating White River by just two in their second game, Sehome's players seemed to realize that their chance at a trophy was on the line. Last year, they finished ninth in the tournament and went home empty handed.
"The loss sparked us to come out here and play our best," said senior offensive hitter Taylor Lyall, who had a game-high 12 kills. "We had some mistakes in this game, but we played a lot more together."
Senior middle hitter Katie Becker tallied four blocks, five kills, an ace and an assist, sophomore setter Megan Greer contributed 32 assists and junior offensive hitter Erika Smith added 10 kills.
"We came back with a ton of energy," Becker said. "We knew it was all or nothing for this game, so we just gave it our all."
White River coach Strydar Argo said that his own team's gaffes cost them the win.
"We fought them hard, but in the end, they just overpowered us," he said, adding that the players struggled with passing in the first game. "We made some mistakes and they put the ball away."