Lynden Christian overcame the greatest four-set performance in Squalicum volleyball history in an intriguing Northwest Conference match Wednesday, leaving both coaches with plenty of reasons for enthusiasm.
In a matchup of state trophy hopefuls, the Lyncs – ranked third in Class 1A – forced the fourth-ranked 3A Storm to react constantly to three different junior hitters who amassed 32 total kills in LC‘s tight 25-18, 26-24, 19-25, 26-24 emotion-packed win.
It was just enough to enable younger LC (5-0, 4-0 NWC) to overcome a school four-set record of 30 kills by Emma Schroder, one of six senior starters for the Storm (4-1, 3-1).
“We’ve had some great hitters (in recent years), but we knew this season we would have to count on balance,” said Lyncs coach Kim Grycel, who is seeking her 21st consecutive state tournament spot.
Jacci Plenkovich and Torina Hommes (11 kills apiece) and Gracelyn Weg (10 kills) provided that unpredictable balance to offset Schroder, who holds the Storm record with 36 kills in a five-set match, third-year coach Joe Amaral said.
“Emma responded great tonight,” Amaral said of facing the Lyncs’ constant pressure.
The big numbers
Those weren’t the only solid numbers.
Kelsie Otter had 15 digs and four aces for LC, while Emma King also had 15 digs. Sofie Franson had an outstanding performance at setter with 34 assists and contributed a match-high five blocks. Three-sport senior star Avery Dykstra played with great intensity and had 19 digs, while Plenkovich also had four blocks.
“Jacci played a great match, especially considering she’s just back from an illness. … She just doesn’t make mistakes,” Grycel said. “She competes so hard and is so steady.”
For Squalicum, Karissa Weeda had 21 digs, Gigi Hewitt made 44 assists, Chalae Wolters contributed four blocks and Leeya Fogle had three aces.
Good outlook for both
“I think both (NWC 3A schools) Squalicum and Ferndale have a great shot at state trophies,” Grycel said.
Of course, so do the Lyncs, who have been to the 1A state championship match the past three years, winning titles in 2014 and ’15.
The big hit
Fransen served an ace to end the match, capping a performance of remarkable versatility.
Emma Schroder’s name was misspelled in earlier versions of this story.