Consider the hurdle cleared.
The last seven years, which includes eight meetings, the Burlington-Edison volleyball team has had Sehome’s number. Not a single match went the Mariners way until Tuesday night, Sept. 23, at Burlington-Edison High School.
Sehome (4-0, 2-0 Northwest Conference) rallied from two sets down to defeat Burlington-Edison 16-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-12, 15-8.
“It is huge,” junior outside hitter Emily Greer said. “We are all so excited and I’m really glad we beat them in a great game like this.”
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Sehome, the No. 2-ranked 2A team in the state, looked like it was going to go down quick. The first two sets were sloppy and disorganized against the Northwest Conference powerhouse and No.4-ranked squad in 2A.
It quickly became noticeable who was ready to compete when Burlington-Edison went on a 8-1 run to make it 14-6 in the first set. The Tigers went on to win 25-16.
The second set started in Sehome’s favor, as the Mariners pulled to a 4-1 lead and held onto that for most of the set. They led 19-18 at one point. But the Tigers stormed through the last points, winning 25-21.
“Burlington is a fantastic serving team,” said Sehome coach Kristy White, who has never beat Burlington-Edison in her five years as coach. “We knew that coming in. It’s difficult to pass against them. As soon as we settled down, we were able to run our offense.”
History looked like it was repeating itself — the Mariners most recently lost to the Tigers in last year’s bi-district tournament. But Sehome refused to go down without a fight.
“This is the first time Burlington has lost a league game in a long time. We wanted to be that team,” Greer said. “After the first two sets, we sat down and said, ‘We are going to win these three games.’ And we did.”
In set three, the Mariners took the first six points and eventually pulled to an 11-3 lead and coasted in for the 25-19 victory.
The Mariners had momentum and once again started a set quickly. Set four was at 11-4 before anybody could bat an eye. At 16-6 and on a 12-2 run, Sehome was cruising.
Then a confusing turn of events resulted in a substitution or serving out of order error for the Tigers in a 15-minute delay.
Both coaches got their opinions into the scorers’ table, but White was visibly frustrated through the scenario as she repeatedly said, “Let’s just play.”
It all ended up being worth just a point and a timeout and Sehome had a 17-7 lead.
“That was a completely new game once you stop for that long,” White said. “The girls have tremendous determination. We dug our heels in and decided this is the year we beat Burlington.”
The Mariners handled it with ease, kept momentum and evened the score at 2-2 by winning set four 25-12.
It all came down to the fifth set, which was only fitting for the two high-caliber teams.
The set was very back and forth. Sehome had the slight advantage at 8-7 until a four-point run put the Mariners up 12-7. It only took four more points for the Mariners to secure the victory.
With the win, the Mariners not only defeat a rival squad, but now become the top dog in the NWC.
After moving to the top of the league, the Mariners feel confident. It’s not often a team rallies from two down and the Mariners showed they could do it against the one of the top teams in the state.
“It feels great. We had a great season last year and it feels good to keep that going,” Greer said.
Dani Johnson led Sehome with 12 kills, followed by Katrina Dank, who had 10.
Natalie Knops recorded 25 digs and Megan Greer had 39 assists.
Sehome continues its conference play on Thursday, Sept. 25, against Mount Baker at home.