Sports

Falcon volleyball team sweeps Granite Falls, Sultan

LANGLEY — South Whidbey volleyball cruised past its opponents this week and didn’t lose a single game.

“It’s a whole different turnaround,” said South Whidbey head coach Mandy Jones. “We have to play hard and not roll over.”

First Granite Falls fell victim to the Falcons and their newfound fire, 3-0.

In the first game at Granite Falls, the Falcons were down 6-1 before Jones called a timeout to refocus her team.

“I let them have it,” Jones explained. “I pretty much yelled in their faces.”

The well-placed timeout worked and the Falcons came back to win the first game, 25-21. Then South Whidbey jumped out 2-0 after winning 25-17. The Tigers tried to claw back in the third, but ultimately lost 29-27.

The win marked a turnaround from the season opener in September when South Whidbey lost at home to Granite Falls, 3-0.

Against the Tigers on Tuesday, Linden Firethorne led the Falcons with 15 kills, five blocks and three aces. Senior captain Alissa Coupe added 27 assists and junior Brittany Wood had 20 digs and five kills.

“The start of the second half of this season has just been incredible,” Wood said.

Thursday night the Falcons hosted the Sultan Turks. Jones’ squad commanded the games and won 25-14, 25-10 and 25-11.

Firethorne led with 12 kills, seven blocks and three aces. Junior Molly Rawls added seven kills and Wood had five aces. Three of Wood’s aces came in a row during the final points of the third game.

“It feels so much better,” said Wood of the win. “It’s a lot more thrilling and exciting.”

Sultan couldn’t get any runs together, and South Whidbey put the Turks at distance. Sultan High School had parent-teacher conferences this week, and Sultan’s coach wondered if the schedule changes affected his team.

“Something just didn’t click tonight,” said Sultan head coach Brent Ashley. “Tonight, we just didn’t have the gusto.”

The Falcons had some new chants and new attitudes. Boisterous and bubbly, the team couldn’t contain its excitement over the victory.

“When my girls have fun, they play hard,” Jones said. “We have to go out there having fun right off the bat. We can’t wait till we’re six points ahead.”

After losing both matches a week earlier to Archbishop Murphy and King’s, Jones brought her team together for a meeting. All season, Jones weighed whether she should tell her team South Whidbey High School will host the district playoffs. Jones told her team, and it changed practices and games, according to Jones.

“I told them it would really suck to host districts and not be in it,” Jones said.

A handful of key games remained on the schedule and were crucial to South Whidbey making districts. Granite Falls, Sultan, Cedarcrest and Coupeville are highlighted games for the second half of the season. Now the Falcons can scratch off two of those games and focus on Cedarcrest and Coupeville.

“Beating Lakewood would be a nice win,” Jones added. “Lakewood is the test.”

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