Lynnwood players and head coach Annalise Mudaliar celebrate during a volleyball game between Lynnwood and Shorecrest at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Lynnwood took the win. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Lynnwood players and head coach Annalise Mudaliar celebrate during a volleyball game between Lynnwood and Shorecrest at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Lynnwood took the win. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Lynnwood volleyball sweeps Shorecrest in battle of Wesco 3A/2A unbeatens

The Royals complete their 10th straight sweep; Sammy Holmer delivers 12 kills in a top-tier league showdown.

SHORELINE — The Lynnwood High School volleyball team kept its unblemished season in motion in a battle of the two remaining undefeated teams in Wesco.

The Royals (10-0, 7-0) completed their tenth sweep of the year over Shorecrest (8-1, 6-1) by scores of 27-25, 25-8, 25-22.

After using a late rally to finish an entertaining first set, No. 1 ranked Lynnwood took care of one of its tallest tasks of the season.

Junior outside hitter Sammy Holmer finished with a team-high 12 kills, adding five aces, six digs and two blocks. Hannah Johnson, a senior middle blocker, added 10 kills and eight blocks, while senior setter Charlie Thomas came up with 32 assists and offered 11 digs and three kills. Abbie Orr, a senior right-side hitter, pitched in nine kills and two blocks.

“Gutsy, that’s my overall thought,” Lynnwood coach Annalise Mudaliar said. “It was a win where in that first set, you’re trying to feel out a team and see how they are. I think we came into it a little over-amped. But, once we settled down and got into the groove a bit, we played gutsy, second effort, hard volleyball.”

Trailing 22-21 in a tight opening set, Holmer nailed two clutch kills for the Royals’ 25th and 26th points as they closed out a No. 5 ranked Shorecrest group who had matched each run up to that point.

“Sammy. .. We love Sammy,” Mudaliar said. “Sammy probably has one of the best volleyball IQ’s of anybody I’ve ever coached. She understands the game. She sees the block. She sees the court. She’s aggressive, she’s fearless, she’s steady. And nothing fazes her. She knows when we need a run, and she’ll give you that, and she’ll get a block at the end to seal the game. She’s our MVP tonight.”

The Scots frontline hitters gave the Royals some trouble in moments, with junior 6-footer Lily Starr, along with seniors Violet Burchak and Ally Johnson, all contributing to some of Shorecrest’s big pushes in the first and third sets.

“I think we got out-executed a little bit,” Scots volunteer assistant Dragan Karadzic said. “We’re still trying to fix a few small things, which is when you miss an assignment here and there. And, against some of the teams in our conference, you can get away with it. … You don’t get away with it against Lynnwood.”

Coming into the night having not lost a set, Lynnwood got rare come-from-behind set victories in the first and last frames, which, according to Mudaliar, is a timely experience to have at the current juncture of the schedule.

“I loved that it was competitive and that we had to go through some adversity, that we had to find our way back in because we haven’t had many come-from-behind matches. In those moments, you’re able to see that mental toughness of your team and the emotional toughness of: ‘Are we going to play individual ball, or are we going to come together and fight for each other?’ Once we settled in, it was good for us to see that we’re stronger together and that it’s one point at a time.”

After cruising through the second set, The Royals found themselves in another hole in the final period down 14-11. After building a 23-17 lead, Shorecrest notched five straight points to force another close call in a 22-21 count, as the Royals would ultimately shut it down the rest of the way.

“It was just great volleyball,” Mudaliar said. “Both teams really wanted it, and when you have two teams who have great talent and are well coached. … They come in, they play hard and they’re leaving it all out on the court. They’re going for that second effort and they’re diving, they’re getting excited. … It just makes for fun volleyball, and that’s what it was.”

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