LAKE STEVENS — The unbeaten Lake Stevens High School volleyball team was pushed to five sets for just the second time this season.
The Vikings didn’t fret and responded with another victory.
Lake Stevens and Mount Si went toe-to-toe, trading big hits throughout the match, and junior Isabella Christensen celebrated her birthday Tuesday night by delivering the game-winning point as the Vikings clinched their fifth straight Class 4A state tournament berth with a tightly contested 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 16-25, 15-13 win in a 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament semifinal clash at Lake Stevens High School.
“I thought it was a battle all the way around,” Vikings coach Kyle Hoglund said. “Both teams played really well. Our team kept their head in the game, fought through some adversity and I couldn’t ask for anything more of them. That team over there was a good team. I hope we don’t seem them in state again, but they’ll be there.”
Second-seeded Lake Stevens (16-0) trailed 7-5 in the final frame before Hoglund called timeout. The Vikings came out of the break with two points to tie it at 7-7 before third-seeded Mount Si (18-3) ran off three straight points for a 10-7 lead.
The back-and-forth final frame continued with a four-point run by Lake Stevens that made it 11-10. The Wildcats regained control at 13-12. The Vikings closed it out with three straight points, capped Christensen’s game-winning kill that set off a spirited celebration for Lake Stevens and its home crowd.
“I was saying, ‘Were gonna win. I’m not gonna let a single ball drop,’” Christensen said of heading to an unfamiliar fifth frame.
The Vikings won a tight first set led by its hard-hitting front line. Senior Hayli Tri posted four kills and two aces in the frame, senior Kylie Ascher and Christensen added three kills and senior Anna Schroedl delivered the final two Lake Stevens points for a 25-20 victory.
It was all Mount Si early in the second set. The Wildcats raced out to a 10-2 lead and pushed it to 22-9 before Lake Stevens made a furious comeback. The Vikings scored 13 of the next 15 points and pulled within two at 24-22, but the Wildcats stopped the run just short and earned a 25-22 set win.
The Vikings used a 5-0 run to take a 10-8 lead in the third frame. They didn’t allow Mount Si to put more than two straight points together after and pulled out a 25-18 victory. Tri added four more kills and two blocks, including the set winner.
Trailing 9-7 in the fourth frame, Mount Si regained control thanks to scoring 14 of 16 points to take a 21-11 lead. The Vikings appeared to have another late charge coming after scoring four straight, but the Wildcats ended that push by taking four of the next five to force a deciding fifth set.
The tense final frame ensued. Lake Stevens did just enough to off hold its challenger and punched its ticket to the state tournament.
“Big hitting teams on both sides, and that’s what it came down to,” Hoglund said.
Lake Stevens moves on to face top-seeded Bothell in the bi-district championship match 2 p.m. Saturday at Bothell High School.