Squalicum volleyball coach Joe Amaral said he is convinced that Lynden Christian, Burlington-Edison, Ferndale and Blaine “will all go to the state tournament.”
Don’t bet against his Class 3A Storm (5-3 overall, 4-3 Northwest Conference), either, in the wake of Squalicum’s 21-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-13 win over much-improved 2A Blaine (6-2, 5-2) Wednesday at Squalicum.
After opening the season with four shutout victories, the Storm lost to state hopefuls Lynden Christian, Burlington and Ferndale and then fell behind Blaine in the first set.
“I was a little concerned in that first set, but when I saw how our girls responded in the second set, all those worries went away,” Amaral said.
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PRAISE FOR BLAINE
“Blaine’s program has grown so much,” said Storm kill leader Emma Schroder as fellow senior standout Chalae Wolters quickly agreed, realizing this was the last time they will face fourth-year Blaine coach Bryan Clausen, who returned the praise.
“They are great players with great attitudes,” he said.
‘EVERYBODY BEHIND ME’
Amaral noted how middle blocker Wolters played her best match, with season highs of 10 kills and six blocks, including a match-ending kill. Schroder had a match-high 23 kills and 13 digs, an unusual statistical combination for a 6-footer.
“I had everybody behind me,” Wolters said. “This was our team’s best match.”
The Storm’s other big numbers were 15 digs by Sydney Glover, who also served nine consecutive points in the fourth set for a 17-6 lead; a season-high seven aces by Leeya Fogle; and 47 assists by setter Gigi Hewitt, whose 11.75 average was her best performance.
Karissa Weeda also contributed a strong all-around match and Madison Walker and Kenzie Cox also made several momentum-building plays in the third and fourth sets.
Senior right-side hitter Camryn Vosloh, who has committed to play for Simon Fraser, had 14 kills and six digs. Freshman setter Kylah Wilskey displayed promise against what Clausen called “the best team we’ve played” with 38 assists. Middle blocker Kati Newton, Alexis Hallberg and outside hitter Josie Deming also had several big moments, including serving the last three points of Blaine’s first-set win.
“Our girls have come a long way,” said Clausen. “We can learn much from this match.”