By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
STANWOOD — After a couple of nonleague hiccups to start the season, Meadowdale’s volleyball team appears to be rolling.
The Mavericks improved to 4-0 in Wesco 3A play and 7-2 on the season with a 3-0 sweep of Stanwood on Thursday. Set scores were 25-19, 25-23 and 25-21.
Meadowdale did it without their top outside hitter, Gabrielle Mahler, who was ill and missed the match.
“I think we are getting a lot stronger as a team,” Meadowdale head coach Machen Shrum said. “Julianna Falk and Michaela (Meyer) filled in in kind of those areas they haven’t been in and stepped up really well. Julianna, especially, had a great night on attacks and digs that she got and good serving. It’s comforting to know when you have someone out that’s kind of one of your kids that you depend on that you have somebody else that can come in and play at a very high level.”
Falk chipped in four kills for the Mavericks.
Two players that have been consistent night in and night out for Meadowdale are seniors Kaylan Cummins and Sloane Morrison. Morrison led the way for the Mavericks with 11 kills, nine digs and a 100 percent serving percentage.
“Sloane and Kaylan tend to be our go-to people,” Shrum said. “Sloane is a very intelligent person and she’s a very intelligent player. Even if it’s not the perfect set for her, she finds a way to find a hole or to hit it hard when we don’t think she’s going to hit it hard. She just has a way of making it work for her.”
Cummins finished with nine kills.
“Kaylan has just been getting stronger and stronger,” Shrum said. “It comes with confidence. She’s seen success and I think a lot of teams don’t know how to defend the left-handed hitter when they see her and she’s getting a little bit of a quicker arm which is harder for them to defend.”
It was the third consecutive sweep for the Mavericks and their fifth of the season. Shrum was happy with the way her team finished, especially against a good team like Stanwood.
“I’m really happy with the way they closed because we’ve had a tendency in a couple of other matches to win the first two, lose the third, and then we usually come back and win the fourth,” Meadowdale coach Shrum said. “It was really important, and I think a big stepping stone for us, to win that third game.”
Morrison, Meyer and McKenna Williams also helped the Mavericks use their height advantage over the Spartans. The block seemed to give Stanwood fits at the net throughout the match, though Shrum still wasn’t satisfied and credited the defense behind the blockers.
“We had a little bit of a height advantage over them,” Shrum said. “I still didn’t think we blocked very well. That second game in particular and even the third, we didn’t get as many blocks or touches as I would like being taller than they were. The defense did a really good job of saving us tonight. We didn’t count so much on the blocking.”
The block may not have been perfect, but the Mavericks have improved mightily since losing to Everett earlier in the season when Shrum said the team didn’t finish with a single block kill.
The Mavericks loss to Everett was one of two losses on the season, the other coming to Lynnwood. The common thread between the two losses – playing on the road.
“The first two losses we had were on the road against Everett and Lynnwood,” Shrum said. “We’ve been working on the mental part of playing on the road and what we are doing differently when we are playing on the road versus playing at home. Let’s try not to make the differences. Let’s try and keep things the same.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Stanwood H.S.
Meadowdale 25 25 25 — 3
Stanwood 19 23 21 — 0
Highlights—Meadowdale: Julianna Falk four kills; Amy Rickel 22 digs; Kaylan Cummins nine kills; Sloane Morrison 11 kills, nine digs, 100% serving; Tara Fishback 25 assists. Stanwood: Kitt Campbell 23 assists, 14 digs; Krista Titus 23 digs; Asia Borseth nine kills. Records—Meadowdale 4-0 league, 7-2 overall; Stanwood 2-2, 6-3.
Highlights—Meadowdale: Player stats; player stats. Stanwood: Player stats; player stats. Records—Meadowdale x-x league, x-x overall. Stanwood x-x, x-x.