Sports

Falcons test King’s on Senior Night

The matchup wasn’t ideal for senior night. No one wants to host the undefeated team in their last home game.

For South Whidbey High School though, it was an opportunity.

Head volleyball coach Mandy Jones told her team to take risks, play hard and have fun. She started her four seniors: Katie Bushey, Alyssa Coupe, Lyna Nichols and Kelsey Taylor.

King’s High School (13-0) won in three straight games 25-21, 25-19 and 26-24. Like all season, the score didn’t reflect the Falcons’ attitude during the game.

“It felt really good to be that close with King’s,” Jones said.

The South Whidbey Falcons (6-7) kept those games close with team defensive efforts. Like the Falcons played all season, Jones wanted them to be scrappy and hit the floor to get digs and be fearless on blocks.

“Katie Bushey played some great defense,” Jones acknowledged.

Brittany Wood, a junior, led the Falcons with 29 digs and added two kills and two aces to her stat line. Fellow juniors Justina Mackie and Molly Rawls recorded double-digit digs. Mackie had 18 digs and Rawls had 17 digs and five kills.

“We put up a good fight,” Jones said. “The girls were happy. But they were upset that in the third game we didn’t pull out the win.”

One of Jones’ coaching goals was to force King’s coach Steve Bain to call a timeout. Bain called two timeouts.

Added Jones: “Our defense was key to that match.”

Linden Firethorne finished with 13 kills, six blocks and two aces. Hannah Calderwood hit four kills.

After the match Jones saw some teary eyes and long faces. She told her team there was no reason for the sad faces because of the effort they put into the game and the season. The four South Whidbey seniors acknowledged they cried at least a little bit after the game.

“I didn’t cry too much,” Nichols said.

This is the second loss to King’s this season. The first meeting this season was lopsided in favor of the Knights. King’s won in three games 25-15, 25-16 and 25-11 — a total margin of 33 points.

After that week’s games, Jones called her team in for a team meeting to regroup and refocus them. She told them South Whidbey High School is the host school for district playoffs and explained she would play the team that gave South Whidbey the best chance to win, which meant diminished playing time for some of the girls. The team bought into the new plan and finished the second half of the season strong.

In the first seven games South Whidbey was 2-5. Going into Tuesday night’s game with Archbishop Murphy High School (11-2), South Whidbey is 4-2.

To beat Archbishop Murphy, Jones knows she needs more offense to match her team’s defensive abilities.

“It needs to be more than the Linden show,” Jones said.

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