High School Sports

Sehome wins district title, Bellingham falls short of state berth

The Mariners’ volleyball team won the Class 2A District Tournament in a dominant fashion against Archbishop Murphy on Saturday, Nov. 8, at Squalicum High School.

Sehome (17-0, 12-0 NWC) finished the tournament without losing a set after beating the Wildcats 25-21, 25-18, 25-18, solidifying them as a force to be reckoned with when the state tournament begins.

“We’ve got our eyes set on playing the best volleyball we can,” Sehome coach Kristy White said. “We knew we were going to come in playing our best game and it’s hard to beat us.”

The Mariners made sure everyone in the gym knew why they are the No. 1 seed in the district with strong starts in the match’s first two sets.

Sehome led 13-6 in the first set and never relinquished the lead in the 25-21 win, the closest set of the game. In the second set, the Mariners showed no mercy for Archbishop Murphy, starting the game on a 9-0 lead before easing their way to a 25-18 win.

“We weren’t making a lot of errors and we passed the ball really well,” White said. “(Archbishop Murphy) had a hard time passing our serves.”

The third set looked to be where the Wildcats were going to make the game competitive after opening with a 3-0 lead. But the Mariners quickly spoiled any hopes Archbishop Murphy had of winning the district with an 11-3 run of their own to soar to an 11-6 lead. Sehome then ended the match on an 8-2 run to win the third and final set.

“Our girls are mentally tough and know to be disciplined,” White said. “Today they put everything together. We’ve talked about peaking at the right time.”

Mariners outside hitter Dani Johnson led the charge — finishing with 12 kills, five aces and 10 digs and is excited to be heading to state once again.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Johnson said. “We worked really hard in practice. We’ve been wanting this, and I’m ready to compete in my final season.”

Emily Greer showed her presence in the match as well with her seven kills, one ace and 11 digs, forming a nice one-two punch alongside Johnson on the outside.

“I’m really excited, because I feel like we can go pretty far [in state],” Greer said.

Sehome setter Megan Greer tallied 28 assists by the end of the match.

“We came out and got the job done,” Megan said. “We’ve been applying everything we’ve been working on in practice.”

Going into the state tournament, opponents will sure have their eyes on Sehome.

The Red Raiders’ volleyball team saw their season end Saturday, Nov. 8, in Squalicum High School with a 25-21, 22-25, 24-26, 22-25 loss to Lakewood.

Coming out strong and winning the first set, Bellingham (10-7, 7-5 NWC) looked to be on its way to a state tournament berth. But the momentum quickly changed and the Red Raiders couldn’t grasp control of the match.

“It all comes down to serve and serve-receive,” Bellingham coach Kim Bjorklund said. “We needed to pass a little bit better for our setters. There was a lot of doubles calls.”

After splitting the first two sets, Bellingham came out strong in the third set with a 7-1 run, taking a 7-4 lead. Later in the set, the Red Raiders owned a 17-13 lead, looking to win the crucial third set. But Bellingham let the match get away.

The Cougars went on an eight-point run to lead 21-17. Bellingham fought back to tie it at 24-all but lost the next two games and ultimately the set.

“They’re tenacious like that and they’re competitors,” Bjorklund said. “They don’t roll over.”

The Red Raiders proved they weren’t going to go down without a fight. In the fourth and final set, Bellingham started on a 5-1 run. Just like the third set, Lakewood went on a run to take back the lead.

Down 21-14 and with the end of the season closing in, Bellingham sparked an 8-3 run to pull within two points and tried to force a fifth set of the match. But Lakewood scored two consecutive points to win.

Even though the season didn’t go as planned, Bjorklund said this team was the best team she’s had.

“This is the most winning season I’ve had in 13 years being here at Bellingham,” Bjorklund said.

The Red Raiders will return next season with a majority of the players currently on the roster, as the team only has three seniors, which makes Bjorklund hopeful for next season already.

“It was great for (the seniors) to show our young kids what it takes to get here,” Bjorklund said. “Our name is out there now, and the girls can be proud of what we’ve done this season.”