Lynden’s volleyball players were facing the toughest pressure of their careers, yet they bounced onto the court with huge smiles and a joyful attitude after greeting a special fan.
“Grandpa!” junior setter Kyla Bonsen said as she and her teammates joyfully greeted lifelong Lynden resident Roy Bonsen in his wheelchair.
Bonsen, who has rarely missed a home game played by Kyla and her two older sisters, couldn’t have been more thrilled to see the Lions (13-5) claim their first state tournament berth since 2013 and its 22nd overall with a 25-18, 25-18, 25-20 win over much-improved Blaine in the Class 2A Northwest Bi-District Tournament in a winner-to-state elimination game Saturday.
“He’s the sweetest!” Kyla Bonsen said of her grandfather. “He’s great fan. He supports our sports.”
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In a sense, this was also a first for Chris Elsner, who returned as head coach this season. In her first stint as coach from 1999-2008, her teams claimed eight state spots in 10 seasons.
Lions join Sehome
Lynden will be joined at state by Sehome (8-11), which had already qualified for ninth-year coach Kristy White’s fifth state berth with three tournament triumphs. State title contender Burlington-Edison (16-1) earned a 25-21, 25-22 win over the Mariners in the title game.
Blaine’s current players participated in their first winner-to-state game under fourth-year coach Bryan Clausen, whose teams have made steady improvement.
Lynden came up with nice numbers, considering how many players contributed, as the Lions rallied in all three games.
Isabelle Jacob had the match-clinching kill on an assist from setter Bonsen. Jacob led the Lions with 13 kills, fellow senior Abi Broussard had seven and freshman game-changer Faith Baar scored six. Broussard and Jacob made power kills to win the first and second sets, respectively.
Bonsen had 31 assists and five digs, while Robin Scarlett and Savonne Sterk had 12 digs apiece.
For Blaine, Camryn Vosloh had a match-high 14 kills in her last game. Kylah Wilskey turned in 32 assists, while Brynn Hallberg served five aces, Ashley Dickerson made five blocks and Cassidy Condos had 18 digs – all match highs.
“We have a great bunch of girls who have worked really hard to get their farthest,” Clausen said. “Today, we played not to lose instead of playing to win. And Lynden has a great bunch of girls.”
In the third/fourth place seeding game for 2A state Friday and Saturday, Lynden beat Liberty 25-17, 25-16, 25-19 behind Jacob (11 kills, 14 digs), Sterk (seven kills, two blocks), Scarlett (seven kills, seven digs), Broussard (six aces, seven digs) and Bonsen (36 assists).
Sehome’s White proud
Sehome received solid efforts from Cameron Hodges (eight kills, 16 digs), freshman Aspen Garrison (seven kills, two blocks) and Haley Wilson (19 assists).
“We competed well,” White said. “Overall, we dug in. I’m proud because nobody thought we’d be here.”
Lynden’s Baar shines
Elsner moved Baar into the starting lineup midway through the season after the freshman had played mostly JV.
“I was asked, ‘Have you got a transfer?’ “ Elsner said with a laugh. No, but she soon realized she has a fine freshman prospect in Baar.