High School Sports

Sehome stays unbeaten with five-set win over Ferndale

When senior middle blocker Maddy Bryan stepped up to serve for unbeaten Sehome with a marathon match on the line, it was like an accurate knuckleballer following a series of fastball pitchers in an extra-inning baseball game.

“My serve is a float serve and it knuckles,” an exhausted Bryan said after she launched three serves that could not be returned, finally giving the visiting Mariners the lead for good in the final set of a 3-2 win over young but talented Ferndale in a Northwest Conference volleyball thriller on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

How close was this match between teams with state tournament aspirations?

This close: When Bryan’s clutch kill pulled trailing Sehome (6-0 overall, 4-0 NWC) within 9-8 in the fifth set, Ferndale (4-2, 2-2) had 95 points and the Mariners had 101, but that included a nine-point first set win for Sehome.

But still trailing by one point in an extremely tense fifth-set frenzy, the Mariners scored four consecutive points — three on Bryan’s calm serves and one on a kill by Emily Greer — to take a 12-9 lead. Sehome soon had a 25-16, 26-24, 25-19, 19-25, 15-11 victory.

Ferndale’s Rose Compton scored her team-high 15th kill followed by two Mariners’ errors to pull the Golden Eagles within 13-11, but the ever-hustling 5-5 outside hitter Greer scored on an artistic floating kill for Sehome and senior leader Dani Johnson scored on her match-high 17th kill to fittingly end it.

“Our team rallied around Dani,” said Sehome coach Kristy White, who was quite an athlete in her volleyball days for the Mariners and taught Johnson her wicked jump serve. “Maddy doesn’t serve very often, but she’s always ready when we need her.”

As befitting such a high-caliber match, there were all kinds of big numbers.

Senior setter Megan Greer had 38 assists and very few errors for Sehome, while senior libero Natalie Knops had 31 digs to go with 14 digs by Johnson and Emily Greer, 13 by Megan Greer and 10 by Kayla Thurman. Sehome had 14 aces, led by Johnson’s four, and Emily Greer scored on 11 kills and Bryan tallied a season-best nine kills.

Ferndale coach Patti Hoelzle, for whom standout setter Abby Reid is the only senior, was especially proud of how well her team responded when versatile middle blocker/outside hitter Taryn Potter was forced out with an ankle sprain with the Golden Eagles trailing 12-8 in the first set.

“That was a real battle,” Hoelzle said. “Losing Taryn was tough, but our girls really stepped up. I was very proud of our team. We’re not super young (with several productive juniors); we’re just inexperienced.”

Hoelzle called Compton, an effective combination of height and athleticism, “phenomenal” with a match-high six blocks to go with her 15 kills. Whitney Walker and Julia Olson, both sophomores, had 14 kills apiece and sophomore libero Brittany Olinger had 15 digs.

“That was Brittany’s first start at libero,” Hoelzle said with obvious pride against such a skilled team as the Mariners, who finished fourth at Class 2A state last year.

Johnson, whose jump serve was a huge factor for Sehome, gave White full credit for teaching the trick move to her.

“Kristy taught the serve to me as a freshman,” Johnson said, “and it’s like the hardest serve to learn. But she had a lot of confidence in me and I’ve been using it ever since.”

Sehome trailed in the first set 6-8 but dominated 19-8 the rest of the set. But that didn’t faze Ferndale — the Golden Eagles reversed the situation while winning the second set 26-24. Compton tied the score at 24 with a kill, and Olson then scored from the left side and Walker won the set with an ace that hit the net and bounced over.

The teams then traded 25-19 sets, with Sehome winning the third and Ferndale taking the fourth, capped by Compton kills for the Golden Eagles’ final two points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 2:34 PM, ng_blh@cci.mcclatchy.com> wrote:

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