MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — No matter where the Monroe volleyball players hit the ball, a Jackson player was there. The Timberwolves seemingly got to every ball and made every play, cruising to a 3-0 victory in the 4A district 1 championship match on Thursday.
Set scores were 25-17, 25-14 and 25-16.
The victory earned the No. 2 ranked Timberwolves a trophy, but the coaching staff and players have made it clear that the ultimate goal is to raise the state championship trophy at the end of the season.
“It’s a stop on the road to where we want to be,” Jackson head coach Ashley Allen said. “When we lay out our goals we go through the season, where do we want to be here, where do we want to be here. And this is where we wanted to be at this part of the season, so it means a lot. Going into state and knowing that you have that behind you is definitely a good confidence booster. It’s good, it’s where we want to be right here.”
The Timberwolves played one of their more complete matches of the season on Thursday, leading nearly the entire match. Nearly every hit the Monroe players made was dug by a Jackson player and returned, most ending with a point for the Timberwolves.
“I think this is one of the best (matches) we have had this season,” Allen said. “But I still see a lot more for us to be doing. I don’t think we have peaked.”
From early in the first set, it was clear that on this night the Bearcats were overmatched.
“I knew they would be a strong, solid team with their size and their experience,” Monroe head coach April Munoz said. “I think the girls didn’t realize what they were up against. I knew, and we tried to prepare them, but you don’t know until you are out there.”
Munoz said the Timberwolves are unlike any team the Bearcats have faced all season.
“Not even close, not even close,” she said. “That’s why the girls were a little in shock because they haven’t seen that before. The lack of experience on our team, they haven’t seen it (a team like Jackson) outside of high school. A lot of their players have a lot more experience. They have seen it outside of high school.”
Building an early lead in the first set helped propel the T-wolves to the sweep, Jackson senior hitter Emmy Allen said.
“I think we just got some momentum in the beginning and we really focused in,” she said.
Coach Allen has put so much emphasis on team this season that she doesn’t even provide individual statistics to the media. On Thursday, the Timberwolves looked like a team that doesn’t care about individual numbers.
“We really have been focusing a lot this season on ‘what is your role?’ and being able for them to define it and then being able to put it all together into one thing,” Allen said.
What remains to be seen now for the Timberwolves is if such a lopsided victory heading into the state tournament will be a good thing or a bad thing.
“It definitely can go either way,” Allen said. “I think that is up for us to define. It depends on how we spend the rest of our practices up until state and then going into state and the mentality we take away from it.”
Munoz said Monroe can use Thursday’s loss to its advantage as the Bearcats head into the state tournament.
“You learn from it,” she said. “The thing that they can learn is that they have to see what’s on the other side more. It allows us to go into the next few practices knowing that we have to focus on seeing what’s on the other side before we make the move. And they can do that. They can improve and they can come out and play better at state. I have all the confidence in the world.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jackson 3, Monroe 0
Monroe — 17 14 16 — 0
Jackson — 25 25 25 — 3
Monroe — Melina Seabrook 7 kills; Mia Adams 5 kills; Jannae Groeneweg 9 digs; DD Latimore 14 assists. Jackson — not reported. Records — Monroe 14-3, Jackson 14-0.
Consolation bracket- loser out
Kamiak 3, Edmonds-Woodway 1
Edmonds-Woodway — 15 26 20 28 — 1
Kamiak — 25 24 25 30 — 3
Edmonds-Woodway — Sid Eck 9 kills, 10 digs; Maddie Houvener 35 assists, 2 kills, 20 digs; Julia Hutchison 20 digs, 3 aces; Maddy Rettenmier 8 kills; Mikenna Vogel 10 kills. Kamiak — Dani Smullin 3 kills, 39 assists; Margaret Wallace 13 kills, 2 blocks; Maddy Young 10 kills; Sara Pulaski 22 digs. Records — Edmonds-Woodway 7-10.
Consolation bracket semifinals
Lake Stevens 3, Snohomish 1
Lake Stevens — 25 23 25 25 — 3
Snohomish — 17 25 15 17 — 1
Lake Stevens — Alexis Alverson 26 digs; Kahlia Kelliher 10 kills; Emily Vandergrift 8 kills. Snohomish — Lanesha Reagan 3 aces, 15 digs, 31 kills; Kendle Valade-Nunez 22 assists; Emma McNeil 21 assists. Records — Snohomish 9-8.