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Wildcats stun Falcon volleyball in home sweep
Falcon junior Abby Hodson hits through Wildcat junior McKenna Palmer on Thursday.
Things did not go according to South Whidbey’s plan in a straight-sets loss to Archbishop Murphy on Thursday. Facing a top Cascade Conference rival at home, the Falcons played brilliantly in spurts but made costly errors that dropped South Whidbey to third place in the league. The loss marked the first time this season that South Whidbey dropped back-to-back matches, as the Falcons fell in straight sets to the King’s Lady Knights on Tuesday. “We were doing really good, but we weren’t playing our game,” said Falcon senior hitter Haley Viers. “We had a lot of great plays. Our energy was good. We let them beat us.” South Whidbey led in each of the three sets, only to lose serve and let Archbishop Murphy rally, seize control late in the set and hold on. In the first set, the Falcons controlled the lead at 16-11. Archbishop Murphy relied on its top hitters, junior Caroline Hoban and freshman Samantha Hayward, to get them back in the game. Falcon errors killed their momentum until the Wildcats tied the set at 21-21. A kill by Falcon senior Mackenzie Hezel, who had a team-high 14 kills, brought South Whidbey back into contention at 23-23, but Hayward scored a kill to end a long rally, and Hoban scored a tip to end another rally and win the set. “Number 5 (Hayward), she had good hits,” Viers said. “She’s big.” South Whidbey started the second set with an early lead, only to watch as errors and Archbishop Murphy’s offense chipped away at the 8-2 lead. The Wildcats clawed their way back on the hitting of Hoban and Hayward until they tied on consecutive points from 12 to 15. From there, Archbishop Murphy led the rest of the way to a 25-20 win. “We messed up on some of our hits,” Viers said. The third set looked to be South Whidbey’s rallying game. The Falcons led 7-1 and held the advantage until late in the set when, again, errors and a costly net violation call that waived off a critical, late-set point let the Wildcats win 25-23. Losing a close match on errors devastated South Whidbey’s players and coaches, especially following a day of high hopes and expectation. “All day everyone was talking about the game and how we’d play awesome,” Viers said. South Whidbey (6-3 conference, 7-3 overall) and Archbishop Murphy (7-2 conference, 8-2 overall) will play again later this month in Everett, on the Wildcats’ home court. In earlier action, King’s (8-0 conference, 8-0 overall) defeated South Whidbey in straight sets 25-19, 25-15, 25-17.