Against Arc. Murphy, volleyball nets more

Two teams and two nights may have created a rivalry.

On Friday and Monday, volleyball players from South Whidbey and Archbishop Murphy saw a lot of one another. Playing each other in their only two Cascade Conference meetings this season, the Falcons and Wildcats went to the wire almost as many times as two teams could. But only the Wildcats went away with a grudge, as the Falcons took Friday’s match in four games and Monday’s in five.

Of the two, the second match was far more competitive. The Falcons had a relatively easy time of it three days earlier when they visited the Wildcats in their home gymnasium, winning 18-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-14. Falcon coach Tim Durbin said his team got a slow start and essentially gave up the game on seven unforced hitting errors. But then, the hitters settled in, as junior Sara Hicks led the team with 15 kills at the net, followed by Caitie Newman with 11 and Marie Enell with eight.

In Erikson Gymnasium Monday, the Falcons found it a bit more difficult to make headway against the Wildcats. At a 2-inch height disadvantage at two front-row positions, the Falcons nonetheless took the first two games of the match 27-25 and 25-17. But at that point, up-and-down play caught up with the hometown team as the Falcons dropped the next two 21-25 and 23-25.

Durbin said his team let the fourth game slip when, he said, the Falcons should have won and ended the match. In the tiebreaker, South Whidbey didn’t repeat the mistake, taking the rally-scored fifth 15-7.

To end the match, team members had to go at it in workmanlike fashion. Setter Jessi Eaton nearly doubled her assist total from the previous game, putting up 52 balls in the match. The hitting squad of Newman, Hicks, Enell, Silver Keck and Janelle Iversen also put up big numbers knocking the ball to the floor 58 times. Senior Amy Brown had 18 digs on the night, while Newman — who led the kill stats with 18 — had a season-high 14 digs. Newman also led the team in ace serving, getting four balls past the Wildcats untouched.

South Whidbey is now 5-2 in conference play and 10-6 overall.

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