The top-ranked team in Class 2A traveled north to Ferndale and wasn’t intimidated by the raucous Golden Eagle crowd.
Burlington-Edison (10-1, 10-0 NWC) took it to No. 2 Ferndale (10-1, 9-1) from the very start in a showdown of the last two remaining unbeaten teams in Northwest Conference play, handing the Golden Eagles a 25-21, 25-14, 18-25, 25-19 loss in a match that could decide the league title.
Burlington played with an almost care-free attitude. A ball deflected off Tessa Martinson’s face for a Ferndale point, and the junior and Tigers’ bench just laughed it off.
“I think the moment was a bit big for us,” Ferndale coach Patti Hoelzle said. “We’re a young team, starting two sophomores, and I think this game added a lot of pressure on us.”
Hoelzle said Burlington was an extremely tough team to score on, adding to the difficulties.
“Their defense and serving is great,” Hoelzle said. “We’re an offensive team that relies on momentum, so it’s a tough matchup.”
The first set would be a sign of things to come, with most points extending into long rallies.
Ferndale junior Hailey Pelton brought her team back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 6-3 lead thanks to her serves. Pelton’s ball dipped right at the net with speed, making the Tigers work to get the ball in the air.
Burlington’s serving streak went on longer than Ferndale’s, however, which helped the Tigers take the first set. Martinson helped Burlington string together eight straight points with low-flying missile serves, forcing Ferndale into a timeout trailing 17-16. Then the Tigers added two more points.
Burlington led 11-5before Ferndale called timeout. But the serves of Martinson let the Tigers score two more points after the pause in play. Ferndale called its second timeout of the set trailing 18-8.
An especially long rally ended with Ferndale tying the score at 11, but Burlington answered with the next point. Then, Ferndale’s Morgan Joseph got a kill, followed by a Kylie Honrud kill, and Ferndale started gaining momentum up 13-12. The Tigers called timeout down 15-12.
Burlington showed signs of fatigue in the third set, opting to try and surprise Ferndale with pushes over the net on the second hit, rather than going for big swings. But the Golden Eagles were ready, and a kill by Honrud sealed the third set for Ferndale.
Ferndale called a timeout trailing 8-3, and the Golden Eagles shouted “Reset!” out of the timeout, but the Tigers scored the next two points before a Honrud answer with a kill.
The Golden Eagles called another timeout down 16-9. Ferndale rallied back thanks to blocks by Pelton and got it to within 22-19. On match point, Ferndale failed to get the ball over the net on the return.