STANWOOD — Time and time again, Stanwood outside hitter Devon Martinka rose above the net and used her towering frame to pepper Arlington’s defense with emphatic spikes.
The Eagles did their best to ward off the barrage, but ultimately they couldn’t overcome the 6-foot-2 junior’s standout play.
Martinka pounded out 17 kills and led the Stanwood volleyball team to a 25-19, 25-22, 25-22 sweep of Arlington in a showdown of Wesco 3A unbeatens Tuesday night in front of a packed crowd at Stanwood High School.
“She is our go-to,” Spartans coach Megan Amundson said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. She’s our go-to hitter.
“Any kind of situation, we can throw her that ball and she’s going to put it away.”
The victory gave Stanwood (10-1 overall, 9-0 conference) sole possession of first place atop the Wesco 3A standings. The Spartans have swept all but one conference match this season, winning 27 of 29 sets in Wesco 3A play.
Arlington (10-2, 9-1) dropped into second place, 1.5 games ahead of third-place Snohomish.
“Stanwood played so well,” Eagles coach Whitney Williams said. “It looks like they’re peaking at the right time. They were really hard on serves, and Devon Martinka did a great job of attacking everywhere she was at.
“We just didn’t really have an answer for it.”
Stanwood senior setter Saylor Anderson complemented Martinka with 29 assists.
“I trust her to put the ball away,” Anderson said. “I always rely on her, because I know that she knows what to do with the ball.”
Junior libero Veaya Carter provided 21 digs and four aces for a senior-laden Spartans team that was firing on all cylinders. Senior outside hitter Gracie Nichols added seven kills, senior Sydney Brager had seven digs and senior Taya Shoemaker chipped in with two blocks.
“They know each other’s roles, they accept it (and) they know that it’s got to be a team effort,” Amundson said.
Stanwood gained separation in the opening frame with a tiebreaking 8-1 run, building a 17-10 lead en route to a 25-19 first-set victory.
Arlington scored four straight points in the second set to build a 16-12 advantage, but the Spartans answered with six consecutive points to earn an 18-16 edge.
Then after Arlington evened the score at 18-18, Stanwood rattled off five straight points on its way to a 25-22 win.
Martinka keyed the strong second-set finish with several thunderous spikes, scoring five of the Spartans’ final seven points.
Arlington held a 20-18 lead in the third set, but Stanwood closed on a 7-2 run to finish off the Eagles and complete the sweep.
“They played like a really mature team,” Amundson said. “When things weren’t going well, they were able to stay calm and collected and just continue to play their game.”
Arlington sophomore outside hitter Arianna Bilby led the Eagles with seven kills, seven digs and two aces.
Sophomore setter Caroline Diemer had nine assists and five digs, and senior libero Michaela Camlin added four digs for an Arlington team that hurt itself with numerous service errors throughout the match.
“We made a lot of unforced errors that kind of put us in the position that we were in,” Williams said. “Maybe if we controlled those things, things would have gone a different way.
“But man, hats off to Stanwood. They had a great game.”