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Lady Knights fend off Falcon volleyball in straight sets
Losing in straight sets Thursday night was the best loss Falcon head coach Mandy Jones has had against King’s in her five-year career.
For King’s, the victory again established the Lady Knights as the Cascade Conference’s top squad, but not without a fight. South Whidbey rallied from a 19-15 deficit in the first set before losing 25-22, mustered an identical score in the second set and lost 25-20 in the third.
“Our scores have never been so high (against King’s),” Jones said.
Play started poorly for the Falcons, who lost the serve and watched the Lady Knights rip to an 8-0. It wasn’t much of a game until late, when South Whidbey made a run from a 19-15 deficit on an ace by senior Mackenzie Hezel and kills by junior Anne Madsen, who led her team with 13 kills, 10 digs and two aces.
“I feel confident and I just need to trust my setter, go in and hit it,” said Madsen, who shouldered the bulk of the Falcons’ offensive plays.
“We fought pretty hard, we played our best. I definitely think we can beat them.”
King’s stayed the course with its mighty front line, however, and finished the game 25-22.
South Whidbey started the second game with a sense of urgency, taking an early 4-2 lead before King’s came back with a block, followed by an ace. The Falcons regained the lead on a series of Lady Knights’ errors, coupled with timely kills by senior setter Meagan Longdon and Hezel, all while senior Carlee Mills held service.
King’s called a timeout, however, which ended South Whidbey’s momentum. The Lady Knights swung the score from an 11-9 deficit to a 16-14 lead when Jones called timeout to regroup. The Falcons won the serve and managed a couple of points before a net violation sent the ball, and momentum, back to the Lady Knights.
“It was just so tight and everything was going on, it was a whole bunch of chaos,” said Longdon of South Whidbey’s inability to hold serve at crucial points in the match.
From there, King’s fought off the Falcons’ comeback bid to win 25-22 and take a 2-0 set lead.
The Lady Knights took a quick lead in the third set before Jones used a timeout to call attention to her squad’s struggle to hit away from the hitters and blockers. It worked for a couple of plays as Madsen scored two kills. But King’s offense surged ahead to win 25-20.
“We need to learn how to hit around that block,” Jones said, adding she may use stepladders to simulate taller blockers in practice to train her hitters.
South Whidbey played without its other setter, senior Alexa Hess, who injured her ankle earlier that week. Longdon managed 21 assists, nine digs, two kills and one block. Hezel recorded 10 digs and seven kills.
Falcon junior Anne Madsen led South Whidbey to its season-opening win over Lake Washington in five sets Tuesday.
The outside hitter totaled 16 kills, 13 digs and two aces to secure the lengthy victory. South Whidbey won 25-21, 19-25, 25-11, 20-25, 15-8. Meagan Longdon, the Falcons’ senior setter, was on a tear with 39 assists and five aces. South Whidbey was also aided by 16 digs from senior Mackenzie Hezel and 12 kills. Abby Hodson, a junior hitter, tallied eight kills and five aces. Sophomore Calli Patterson recorded nine kills and two blocks.
Lake Washington is a 2A school from the 3A/2A KingCo conference that finished in third place last season with an 8-6 record and 11-7 overall.