Based off a close 25-21 first-set victory over Cedarcrest on Monday night, it appeared South Whidbey’s volleyball team would have its work cut out for it.
Things couldn’t have changed more drastically in the second set when the Falcons won 25-4.
South Whidbey dominated the court from every angle while throwing the Red Wolves out of their rhythm en route to a three-set victory.
Following a 3-0 victory over Sultan on Wednesday night, the Falcons improved to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the Cascade Conference. The Red Wolves are 3-5 overall and 2-4 in league.
“I like to see everyone contributing to the win,” said senior middle hitter Megan Drake, who led the team with nine kills and two blocks. “That was special. That doesn’t always happen.”
“Everybody gets into it and the energy just builds up,” she added.
The contrast between the first and second sets could be explained by the players’ nervousness at the start of the match, said head coach Mandy Jones. Jones said the Falcons typically begin matches slowly.
“It is the case,” Jones said. “I don’t know why.”
Sophomore libero Angelina Wilson, who led the team with 13 digs, said the Falcons decided to relax and have fun in the second set. That shined through as the Falcons piled on point after point with a potent offense while capitalizing on every error made by the Red Wolves. South Whidbey’s offense was so potent that even when it made a mistake, the play usually ended in the Falcons’ favor. Such was the case when Drake managed to score a kill off a wobbly pass that was in danger of hitting the net. Jones said the Falcons’ serving was also lethal. The Red Wolves were hard-pressed to return the Falcons’ serves, which threw their offense off balance.
“They were playing tough and they were serving tough, too,” Jones said. “They were serving them out of system a lot, which is very beneficial to us.”
South Whidbey’s attack was provided by a group effort. In addition to Drake’s nine kills, sophomore outside hitter Emma Leggett finished with seven kills, while junior outside hitter Kolby Heggenes contributed six along with 10 digs. The always-dependable senior Kacie Hanson finished with 10 digs, four kills and three aces.
“They were hitting hard,” Jones said. “They weren’t hesitating. Nobody was. They were going at the game hard like they should be all the time. It was fun to watch.”
Based off the Falcons’ second set, Jones substituted some of the Falcons’ non-starters into the game for the third set. She said the Falcons were a bit cold coming off the bench but were nonetheless effective.
“It was worth the risk because the subs need to play,” Jones said. “I think it is good for them, but I know it’s pretty hard when they’ve been sitting for two sets and are not warm anymore from pregame warmups. I think they all did great.”
The Red Wolves managed to threaten the Falcons throughout the set, leading 17-16. That was until South Whidbey was able to tack on four consecutive points. Hanson, Heggenes and senior Leah Merrow tacked on kills to close out the match.