Lynnwood dodges elimination

EVERETT – Just as everything seemed bleak, the Lynnwood Royals proved they are no pushovers.

Staring down a 3-0 deficit in the deciding fifth game against a pesky Ellensburg team, Lynnwood used strong serving and a slew of timely kills to rally and defeat the Bulldogs 15-12 for a 3-2 victory in a consolation match Friday night at the Class 3A state volleyball tournament.

After being shutout 3-0 by the Bainbridge Spartans earlier in the day, the Royals played with much more consistency and aggressiveness in knocking off Ellensburg 25-15, 20-25, 25-16, 25-27, 15-12 at the Everett Events Center.

Making an appearance at the state tourney following a one-year absence, Lynnwood (10-9 overall) plays Mark Morris (12-5) at 9 a.m. today in a consolation semifinal match. A win assures the Royals of placing in the top eight.

Molly Hunsinger, a senior outside hitter who led Lynnwood with nine kills against Bainbridge and 24 against Ellensburg, said the Royals were excited to advance to the tournament’s second day. “It is awesome. There is no better feeling,” she said.

Lynnwood coach Jean Kellogg said it’s the first time in school history the Royals have advanced to Day Two.

Kellogg said she hoped for a strong performance following the Royals’ first match, which they lost 25-20, 25-16, 25-18.

“Inconsistent,” Kellogg said of Lynnwood’s first-match effort. “We weren’t crisp.”

And how did she grade match two? “Great,” Kellogg said. “Hunsinger was a huge, huge contributor.”

Huge, and clutch – five of Hunsinger’s kills came in the deciding game, including three straight to give the Royals a 7-5 lead.

Senior Britt Thoreson also came up big, Kellogg said. The coach pulled Thoreson aside before the Ellensburg match and said, “When you play aggressive, people follow.”

Thoreson, who seemed tentative in Lynnwood’s early match, came through, leading both vocally and physically. She kept the Royals positive when they fell behind or made a mistake, and she tallied 12 kills against the Bulldogs.

Kellogg’s goal for her team coming into the tournament was to finish in the top eight.

“The biggie is tomorrow,” said Kellogg, who had plenty of post-game advice for her team. In a rapid-fire impression, Hunsinger gave a quick recap: “Go home. Hydrate. Hydrate. Have a snack. Go to bed.”

Joking aside, Hunsinger appreciates Kellogg’s methods. “She knows what she’s talking about.”

Entering the tournament, Hunsinger was the only Royal with state experience. That might had have been part of the reason for Lynnwood’s struggles against Bainbridge, Kellogg said.

The Royals had no such lapses against Ellensburg. Setter Julie Nguyen had 49 assists, and vertically gifted middle hitters Daylene Wilkie (nine kills, eight blocks) and Kelsey Ayres (nine blocks) stepped up.

The Royals were competitive for portions of each game against Bainbridge, but the Spartans put together huge runs to build insurmountable leads. In game one, Lynnwood led 18-16 before the Spartans surged ahead with six consecutive points. Another five-point streak by Bainbridge midway through the third game sealed Lynnwood’s defeat.

High-flying outside hitter Michelle Miller paced Bainbridge with 16 kills, including the match-winning spike.

“She was an awesome hitter,” Hunsinger said of Miller. “She hit line and angle.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Lake Stevens High School head football coach Tom Tri hoists his team’s championship trophy during a community parade and celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Man of the Year in Sports: Tom Tri

The Lake Stevens coach guided the Vikings to Snohomish County’s first large classification football state title in more than 30 years.

West Linn’s Ryan Vandenbrink (23) runs with the ball during a football game between Lake Stevens and West Linn at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. West Linn won, 49-30. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Turnovers cost Lake Stevens in loss to Oregon power West Linn

The Vikings’ run of 35 straight home wins in the regular season ends in an interstate showdown of big-school state champions.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Lynnwood teammates mob senior Abbie Orr (4) after her impressive dig led to a point against Jackson during a volleyball match Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at Lynnwood High School in Bothell, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lynnwood volleyball team continues rise to prominence

After ending a 20-year state drought last season, the Royals are surging again and have vaulted to No. 3 in Class 3A in the new WSVCA poll.

Jackson High’s Ben Lee lunges to get to the ball against Kamiak on Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022, at the Kamiak Tennis Courts in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep boys tennis season preview: Players and teams to watch

A look at the area’s top athletes and teams on the tennis court this fall.

Arlington’s defense stuffs Ferndale running back Talan Bungard on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

Austin Roest prepares to take a wrist shot during the first day of Silvertips training camp on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Dad is an NHL bigwig, but Silvertips’ Roest carving his own path

The 19-year-old forward and son of Stanley Cup-winning executive Stacy Roest leads the Silvertips into the 2023-24 season.

Rich Haldi. (County Sports Hall of Fame photo)
County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 bio: Rich Haldi

The WSU alum and longtime EvCC athletic administrator helped found the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Sept. 11-17

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Sept. 11-17. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Most Read