Wolves grit out game five win over Falcon volleyballers

You could see it in their faces.

Without looking at the scoreboard or checking with the stats people on the benches, the faces of the South Whidbey volleyball team (2-3) said it all.

The Falcon volleyball team lost at home to Cedarcrest High School (1-4) after an extended game four forced a game five and the Red Wolves came out on top. It was the Red Wolves first win of the season.

“We didn’t give up, but it just wasn’t a good fight,” said South Whidbey junior Brittany Wood. “We were kind of down on ourselves so it’s hard to pick ourselves back up.”

South Whidbey opened the match and won game one, 25-17. The Red Wolves stymied the Falcons in game two 25-13.

“I take responsibility for losing game two,” said Falcons head coach Mandy Jones.

But the Falcons came roaring back in the third game.

Cedarcrest called a timeout during what was becoming a South Whidbey rout as the Falcons led 16-3.

South Whidbey student fans wearing vintage SWHS gear and track and field uniforms were warned for rushing to the far courtside during a timeout and bowing down to the South Whidbey team.

“They’re big, they’re tough, they’re strong, they’re scrappy and they’ve got the best fan group in the conference,” said Cedarcrest head coach Brandon Jones. “It’s always tough to come in here.”

Game three featured argued and disputed line calls from both teams, but they seemingly swung in favor of the home team in its 25-6 win.

“If I could have figured out what happened in game three, I wouldn’t have let it happen,” Brandon Jones said, adding that the Wolves regrouped for game four.

“I think our seniors just said enough is enough.”

Game four was critical for Cedarcrest —- a win-or-go-home game.

Cedarcrest rushed to an 8-4 lead before Mandy Jones called a timeout to regroup her team and calm them down. The timeout worked, and South Whidbey crept back into the game at 14-14 before breaking out to a 21-18 lead.

Cedarcrest called a timeout and pulled back to 23-21. A South Whidbey error into the net tied the game 24-24 before Cedarcrest got an ace for a 25-24 lead.

The Falcons got the next point to again tie the game at 25-25 before Cedarcrest ran off two straight points to claim game four.

“In the fourth game, we couldn’t get our offense going,” said Mandy Jones.

Freshman Mackenzie Hezel got the first point in game five on a kill, but South Whidbey couldn’t stay ahead and trailed most of the game.

“Mackenzie Hezel outserved Cedarcrest by far,” Falcons coach Jones said. “Mackenzie is a good player. Even though she’s young she’s consistent in her hitting and serving.”

The Falcons rallied to tie at 11-11, but the Red Wolves ran away with the 15-12 win.

“I got the better of them tonight,” coach Brandon Jones said. “And I feel bad for the other coach, because there were some bad ones that she suffered tonight, and it swings the momentum.”

“These guys are tough and they hammered us last year,” he said.

The Falcons coach attributed losing the fifth game to fatigue that led the team to not play to its ability.

“I think that Cedarcrest wanted it more than we did,” Mandy Jones said. “In the end Cedarcrest was a lot scrappier and more excited than we were.”

Hannah Smythe had 23 kills for the Red Wolves, two kills short of the school single-game record.

Linden Firethorne had 16 kills, Molly Rawls added eight kills and 15 digs and Wood had 38 digs — a record for South Whidbey.

South Whidbey has plenty of chances to regroup Saturday, when it hosts the South Whidbey Invitational Tournament. Sixteen teams will compete all day starting at 9:15 a.m. until 5 p.m. Teams are divided into four pools of four teams then matched in seeded play.

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