By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS — Saturday’s opening round match of the 4A district 1 volleyball tournament between Lake Stevens and Kamiak proved that seedings aren’t always a great predictor of how close a match will be.
The Vikings came in with the No. 2 seed after tying Edmonds-Woodway and Snohomish for the league championship, while the Knights came in with the No. 7 seed. The Vikings would ultimately win the match 3-1, but the Knights gave them just about all they could handle in the final three sets.
“It was a great match,” Lake Stevens coach Dawn Hanson said. “I told my kids that even though Kamiak came in as a No. 7 seed, they are not a No. 7 team. So we had to not overlook them and treat them as if they were a much higher seed. I knew it was going to be close.”
It didn’t appear as if it would be after the first set. The Vikings cruised to a 25-13 win in Game 1 behind the inspired play of junior outside hitter Kahlia Kelliher, who seemed to rack up kill after kill.
“I just got myself really excited for the game,” Kelliher said. “All day I was like, ‘I can’t wait to play, I can’t wait to play.’ I knew if I could have enough energy it would spread throughout the team because energy is contagious.”
Kelliher finished the match with 25 kills, eight digs and was 11-for-12 serving.
“When she is on, it’s lights out,” Hanson said. “You can put the ball anywhere, back row, front row, and she’ll find it. She’s really the person that we fed the most balls to in that Game 1 because when she’s hot you’ve got to ride that.”
The Knights responded to the Vikings’ fast start by taking the second set 25-20.
The team that goes on to win the third set of a volleyball match that is tied at a game apiece often goes on to when the match. The Knights and the Vikings played like two teams that knew what was at stake in the third set. The Knights would lead by as many as four at 13-9, but that was the largest lead either team would hold. Kamiak led 22-21 before the Vikings scored the final four points to win Game 3 25-22 and take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
“We practice a lot on give them one, get one,” Hanson said. “We don’t freak out when another team gets a point because we’re pretty confident in our serve-receive.”
When a lot of teams would have folded after losing an extremely competitive third set, the Knights came back and forced an even more competitive fourth set where neither team led by more than three points. With the Knights leading 23-22, Lake Stevens scored four of the final five points win the game 26-24 and take the match 3-1.
“It was really fun,” Kamiak coach Natalie Bowie said. “They had beat us last time in four (sets) as well. We made some adjustments to our lineup, so we were really excited to come out and play them. At this point in the season you only play great teams, so going in we knew Lake Stevens was going to be really tough.”
The Vikings’ victory sets up a rematch with Snohomish. The Panthers defeated Lake Stevens 3-0 on Oct. 22, handing the Vikings their lone Wesco 4A defeat. This time, a trip to the 4A state tournament and the district championship will be at stake.
“We are really excited to play Snohomish again,” Kelliher said. “We need to get our revenge.”
In the first match of the day, Lanesha Reagan had 28 kills, six aces and 18 digs and Kyla Mellick added 12 kills and eight aces to lead Snohomish to a four-set victory over Monroe.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snohomish 3, Monroe 1
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Highlights—Monroe: Mia Adams 10kills; Jessica Clark 8 kills, 15 digs; Chloe Cory; 15 digs; Laura Aikins 16 assists; Amalia Ruiz 13 assists. Snohomish: Lanesha Reagan 28 kills, six aces, 18 digs; Kyla Mellick 12 kills, eight aces; Maddy Smith five aces, five blocks; Emma McNeil 16 assists; Kendle Valade-Nunez 34 assists. Records—Monroe 8-7 overall. Snohomish 13-2.
Lake Stevens 3, Kamiak 1
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Highlights–Kamiak: Tiffany Nielson 10 kills; Rian Larsen seven kills; Meghan Hayes 23 digs; Morgan Stanley 15 assists, 11 digs. Lake Stevens: Kahlia Kelliher 25 kills, 11-for-12 serving; eight digs; Molli Drivdahl 42 assists, 16-for-17 serving; Alexis Alverson 12 digs. Records–Kamiak 9-6, Lake Stevens 12-3.