Falcons still battling in district volleyball tourney

The South Whidbey volleyball team pushed the Anacortes Seahawks (9-4) to five games Wednesday, but somehow came away with a loss in the final set.

They made it back from the brink, however, with a win against Granite Falls and now move to the second round of district play.

The Falcons are 8-6 in the Cascade Conference and 9-7 overall. Because the number two and three spots are 1A teams (King’s and Coupeville), South Whidbey is in second place behind Archbishop Murphy (13-1, 15-1).

“All I asked of my team was to play hard and play their game, and that is what we did until the fifth game, where we seemed to fizzle a bit and could not bring ourselves out of it,” said Falcon coach Mandy Jones.

“It was a tough loss because the girls played so hard and had so much fun in this match,” she said. “It was a team I had never seen before; they were excited, happy, loud and ready to give it all they had.”

The five-game scores were 21-25, 25-15, 25-22, 20-25 and 5-15.

“We played well, we were definitely at the same level, but for some reason we weren’t able to finish it,” said Falcon Katie Holt. “It was a disappointing loss.”

Teammate Linden Firethorne agreed.

“Our intensity dropped after the first couple of games,” she recalled. “We got crushed in the fifth. It was like we all couldn’t believe we were doing so well. They certainly weren’t any better than us.”

Allison Wood had 20 kills and 12 digs for the Falcons, Kelsie Dorpat had four kills where she executed the dump when necessary and she had 29 assists, Cayla Calderwood had seven kills and eight blocks, Firethorne had five blocks and Brittany Wood had 11 digs.

“Cayla and Linden dominated the net and stopped their hitters from getting a kill; it was very exciting to watch,” Jones said.

In the second match against the Tigers, the girls were tired and upset, Jones said. “But we needed to rally, come back and win if we were to move forward.”

They did just that, beating Granite Falls three straight — 25-20, 25-19 and 25-16.

Wood had 10 kills and 10 digs, Dorpat had 24 assists, while Calderwood and Firethorne contributed six kills each.

“It was hard to stay upbeat, and required a great deal of encouragement from the coaching staff, but we pulled it off and made it to the second round of District 1 action at Lakewood High School,” Jones said.

The Falcons are now getting set to square off Saturday against Lynden, a 12-1 team that’s tied for first with Burlington-Edison.

“We play the Lynden Lions at noon and have to win that. If we can somehow stay strong the whole match without fizzling out, we have a really good chance,” Jones added. “We can always use the support of our fans.”

Firethorne said she personally will focus this week in practice on her blocking and staying excited through the entire match.

Holt said that, mentally, the girls need to know and accept that they can win.

“We can’t be intimidated by anyone, ever,” she said. “Above all, we need to just have fun out there. That’s when we win games.”

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