Ferndale’s state title hopes will have to wait until another day.
The Golden Eagles, by their own admission, came out flat and fell in the first round to Capital 25-20, 25-22, 25-19 in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament on Friday, Nov. 14, at Saint Martin’s University.
Ferndale later fell to Edmonds-Woodway 26-24, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21 in the consolation round at Timberline High School, eliminating the Golden Eagles from the state tournament.
Whether it was the pressure of state that got to a Ferndale team with only one senior is unclear, but Ferndale coach Patti Hoelzle knows it wasn’t pretty.
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“I saw a lot of disorganization. We just couldn’t find our rhythm,” Hoelzle said after the first game. “Some of our main players were taken out mentally.”
Hoelzle said she believed her team was prepared and had plenty of early morning practices to prepare for the 8 a.m. game, so she didn’t know why her team was sloppy.
Ferndale junior middle blocker Taryn Potter noticed the lack of energy as well.
“We just didn’t have the click we needed to,” Potter said. “I’m sure (the pressure) got to some of the younger players who haven’t been here before.”
Potter was one of two players who Hoelzle said performed well for Ferndale. The other was the lone senior, setter Abby Reid.
It was Potter’s first game back on the court after rolling her ankle in practice before the district tournament.
“It was awesome to be back,” Potter said. “I feel like all the work I put into the season, I feel like I got to show it today.”
Potter brings a lot of intensity to the court to add to her crafty play, making her a true game-changer, Hoelzle said.
But Hoelzle noted that Potter is just one player, “she can’t do it all.”
“Without offensive weapons, you can’t earn points against a team like that,” Hoelzle said.
Ferndale looked better in the second game of the day, and proved a little about why they chose the team T-shirts they wear.
Every state volleyball team had some sort of motivational T-shirt with things such as “#Grit”, “It’s game time” or “State Bound” on them. Written on Ferndale’s in bright yellow letters were the words “Strength,” “Belief” and Courage.
Down two sets to none, both of which featured some sort of Golden Eagles run, Ferndale responded. It could have been for Reid or it could have been pure desire, but the Golden Eagles pulled to a 14-4 lead and it was enough to secure the set win.
In the fourth set, it was more Golden Eagles, as they cruised to a 14-6 lead. But that lead quickly evaporated when Edmonds-Woodway went on a 14-2 run.
Ferndale was unable to come back and the players were forced to say goodbye to Reid a day earlier than they wanted to.
“The most amount of time when we were playing well was when we were playing as a team and we were playing together, minimizing our errors,” middle blocker Rose Compton said. “I think we lost sight of that a little at the end.”
Despite ending her volleyball career at Ferndale, Reid was all smiles until she got off the court.
With how vital she was to the Golden Eagles state run, the players know they will miss her.