EDITOR'S COLUMN | South Whidbey volleyball team made us proud

The South Whidbey High School Falcon volleyball team returned home from its first state tournament in 10 years this past weekend.

Unfortunately, it was without the most coveted of titles, the state championship.

The team’s defeat at state stung and, understandably, resulted in more than a few split tears. But not from us, the community who stayed behind eagerly awaiting news. From us, there is only pride and admiration for a group of young women who learned the value of hard work, working together, and both victory and defeat.

Overall, the Falcons had a fantastic season, finishing 9-5 in the Cascade Conference and 14-9 overall. The team fought their way through the District 1 Tournament, defeating Friday Harbor and Mount Baker, to compete in the Tri-District Tournament. There they earned their right to battle at state with impressive victories over Bellevue Christian — in Bellevue — and a four-set win over Nooksack Valley.

The trip to state — held in Yakima — began with high spirits and a match with Chelan, a tough team that beat the Falcons in an exhibition match earlier in the season. The Falcons had the skills and the moxie to secure a win but poor communication and an elusive synergy among players proved too much. Chelan, which took second at the tournament, won 25-19, 25-17, 25-10 — one of South Whidbey’s quickest defeats this season.

The Falcons retreated and regrouped to face Annie Wright and initially seemed to have shed their funk, defeating the Gators in the first set 25-16. But victory wasn’t to be. Annie Wright came back swinging, winning the next three sets 25-13, 25-19 and 25-22.

While the Falcons then faced the long road home without a trophy, they should keep their chins up as they did not return empty-handed. They came back with a host of memories and an experience that will no doubt give shape and definition to their lives.

Of course, they also returned to South Whidbey having earned the respect and pride of their community. To a volleyball team that’s done what no other has in a decade, our hats are off to you.

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