High School Sports

LC volleyball holds off scrappy Sehome squad

Video: Hannah Rusnak records career-high 21 kills

Lynden Christian wins a thrilling Northwest Conference volleyball match over Sehome on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Lynden Christian High School behind junior Hannah Rusnak's 21 kills.
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Lynden Christian wins a thrilling Northwest Conference volleyball match over Sehome on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Lynden Christian High School behind junior Hannah Rusnak's 21 kills.

If the Northwest Conference didn’t know about Hannah Rusnak before Tuesday night, they certainly do now.

The 5-foot-7 junior outside hitter recorded a career-high 22 kills and helped lead the Lyncs to a 25-11, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20 victory over Sehome on Oct. 20 at LC High School.

“I saw an athlete getting up and just hitting balls,” LC coach Kim Grycel said. “I thought Sehome played very well. They were very scrappy and forced Hannah to be creative, which she did a nice job of.”

The growth of the track star on the court has been a rapid one and one that has the Lyncs in second place in the conference.

For Rusnak, it’s the little things that have made a big difference.

“Just the timing. I’m really starting to get the timing on my hits down,” Rusnak said. “And being more aggressive helps.”

Rusnak wasn’t the only Lync with a career-high, though. Carli Tjoelker also set a personal record with 43 assists for an LC squad looking primed for the postseason, as it tries to repeat as Class 1A state champs, which Grycel admits will be hard to do with three of the top five teams in the state in the Northwest District.

A feisty Sehome squad was perfect preparation.

Aside from the Mariners’ dud of a first set, they played well, particularly so with their backs against the wall.

Down 21-12 in the second set, the Mariners rallied to make it 24-23 before the Lyncs captured the final point. In the third set, the Mariners trailed 23-20 before capturing the final five points to steal the set and keep the match alive.

“We played Sehome volleyball and it was good to see,” Sehome coach Kristy White said. “We settled in, played great defense and our hitters weren’t afraid to go up and hit.”

The final three sets looked like two NWC powers squaring off and it was a great sight to see for both coaches, whose teams have gone through struggles this season.

“Just having good competition is great. I love this,” Grycel said. “I didn’t want it to go five but the more good competition, the more it will help us for postseason.”

LC finishes the season with Nooksack Valley on Friday, Oct. 23, on the road, and Anacortes Monday, Oct. 26, at home, before beginning their battle to get back to state.

Sehome, on the other hand, will play Squalicum, Bellingham and Anacortes to finish the year and likely enter the 2A district playoffs as the No. 2 team out of the NWC.

Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2238 or joshua.hart@bellinghamherald.com.

Stat leaders

Sehome

Katrina Dank 3 aces, 6 kills

Kate Cunningham 9 kills

Haley Wilson 13 assists

Lynden Christian

Kara Bajema 22 kills, 5 aces, 13 digs

Hannah Rusnak 21 kills, 11 digs

Carli Tjoelker 43 assists, 11 digs

Emmalee Bailey 17 digs

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