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Falcon spikers ride wins to district

"Melissa Poolman puts away one of many quick points she and the other Falcon hitters rained on Chimacum in the playoff game.Matt Johnson, staff photo One game into their first of two playoff matches Tuesday night, South Whidbey High School's volleyball team started to fall to pieces.Playing on the road against Mount Baker to break a three-way North Cascades Conference tie for fourth place, the Falcons were exhausted after losing the season closer to Nooksack the night before in a four-game marathon. On top of that, they were losing a match they needed to win if they wanted to survive the district tournament and qualify for state.That is when Erin Hussey started yelling and Jamie Nelson started hustling. The two seniors ignited a rally that dispatched the Mountaineers in three games, then carried over into a 20-18, 15-7 win against Granite Falls that same night.The Falcons then added a quick 15-4, 15-8 home win against Chimacum Wednesday night to set up a showdown today against Eatonville at the Northwest 2A Bi-District tournament.Tim Durbin, Falcon head coach, had only rarely seen his team work as hard as it did this week.These last three nights have been just draining on them, Durbin said. It was so draining that without the help of seniors Hussey and Nelson, Durbin said he would have been hard pressed to salvage Tuesday's games or the team's season. Hussey got vocal during the night's first match, Durbin said, lifting the team's spirits, while Nelson led by example, hitting razor-sharp shots at Mount Baker.They really did a great job of keeping the intensity up, he said. Going into today's tournament, the Falcons will bring a new look that might surprise some of their opponents. Durbin shifted junior Jenny Saephan to the outside hitter position about two weeks ago and moved freshman Katie McGillen into the middle hitter spot. That should give the Falcons the kick they need to stay with teams like Eatonville, which is one of the top teams in the tournament.It's really made our team stronger, he said.If the Falcons win two games at the tournament, they will go to the state tournament next weekend in Yakima. They have not advanced that far into the playoffs for several years. Last year, they did not make it past a crossover playoff game -- the same game they won Wednesday night.The bi-district tournament starts at 10 a.m. at Vashon High School. "

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