Sports

Falcons fall to Lakewood Cougars in nail-biter

Allison Wood makes a hard dive in the second of five games against the Lakewood Cougars on Oct. 2 in Erickson Gym. The girls came close in a 15-12 tie breaker fifth game but lost 15-12. The girls recovered and won against Coupeville Thursday. They host Sultan at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9. - Jeff VanDerford
Allison Wood makes a hard dive in the second of five games against the Lakewood Cougars on Oct. 2 in Erickson Gym. The girls came close in a 15-12 tie breaker fifth game but lost 15-12. The girls recovered and won against Coupeville Thursday. They host Sultan at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

The Lady Falcon volleyball team lost a heartbreaker to Lakewood Oct. 2.

A galvanized Cougar squad made a surprising comeback in the second game, lost the third and fourth, then won the fifth.

“This was a tough loss,” Falcon coach Tim Durbin said. “We were up 11-7 in the fifth game and just did not make the plays needed to win. Maybe it was youth. Maybe it was pressure; probably a combination of both.

“We need to learn from this and continue to work hard and fight for every point. We will get our wins when we do the little things that win games.”

The fifth game was the killer for the Falcons.

To improve both speed and consistency, several years ago the Washington Intercollegiate Athletic Association introduced rally scoring — 25 points per game, three of five games needed to claim victory.

When a tie forces a fifth game, the first to reach 15 points breaks the jam.

After each game, the teams switch courts to keep things fair.

The five game breakdown went this way: 25-16, 22-25, 18-25, 25-20 and 12-15.

The Falcons have worked hard to get the players to focus on the spatial relationships between ball, net and an opponent’s potential moves.

Durbin expects his players to have a strong work ethic, to move fast all the time and employ no half-speed measures. “We have enough good solid players but hard work and good communication are really important,” he said.

The games against the Cougars weren’t lost for want of support.

The newly-formed student Birds of Prey fan club turned out 70-strong to provide a deafening roar from the stands.

Organized by ASB president Steven Gabelein and CJ Baker, the club grew as the two seniors noticed a rise in school spirit this year.

“We have kids coming out who normally remain on the sidelines and don’t participate,” Baker said.

Part of the club’s success lies with the football team’s undefeated season. But the Birds of Prey show up everywhere regardless how a Falcon team is faring, as evidenced during Tuesday’s volleyball game.

Unfortunately, by the second game, Lakewood’s girls were starting to get accustomed to the noise.

Even so, Durbin appreciated the show of student involvement.

“Right now, though, we have some things to prove to ourselves and others,” he said. “Footwork and the right approach to the net can be critical for the middle and outside hitters.”

Several Falcons stood out in the match-up against the Cougars.

“I thought Lindsey did a real nice job of hustling after balls and communicating loud on the court. Amanda did a solid job on defense and passing,” Durbin said.

Lindsey Newman had nine kills and 11 assists, Kelsie Dorpat contributed 14 assists and Allison Wood had nine kills.

The Falcons are 2-5 in the Cascade Conference and the same overall.

Next week the girls have a full schedule at home with Sultan on Oct. 9 and Cedarcrest on Oct. 11.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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