South Whidbey volleyball fell short of earning a medal at the class 1A state volleyball championships for the second year in a row this past weekend.
The Falcons were eliminated after losses to Charles Wright Academy and Naches Valley on Nov. 10 at the Yakima Valley SunDome. South Whidbey (15-7 overall) won the first sets in both matches, but failed to pull away with a victory. It’s the second consecutive time the Falcons have gone two-and-out at state. Head coach Mandy Jones, however, doesn’t think any less of the team and what it accomplished.
“I think we had a really awesome season,” Jones said. “We built our team up so much throughout the season. We just kept going up. It was never a point where it was a roller coaster; we played really good all season long.”
The Falcons adhered to a different playing schedule than they were accustomed to. While the typical playing time at normal tournaments is in the morning, the Falcons didn’t play until 5:30 p.m. The atmosphere at the SunDome, which involves five different matches being played at once, also threw them out of their element.
Ultimately, the Falcons were unable to replicate the same magic they had during the regular and postseasons that included 15 victories by a 3-0 margin.
“It just didn’t seem like we were on our game,” Kolby Heggenes said.
Heggenes said the Falcons’ hopes of fighting their way back to a state were not derailed following the loss to Charles Wright Academy. But, it felt like more of the same against Naches Valley in the elimination match.
“It felt like we were going through the motions,” Heggenes said.
Just like her coach, Heggenes isn’t letting the outcome at state affect her perception of the team.
“I can look back on the season and think positively on it for sure,” Heggenes said. “I had a great time. I had fun with my senior friends and everybody else on the team.”
Though it was Heggenes’ final opportunity to play at state, it was the first taste for freshman Emma Hodson, who saw action as an outside hitter against Charles Wright Academy.
“I’ve been there a couple times for my sisters and it’s so different actually being on the court than the stands,” Hodson said. “It was great.”
The Falcons lose seniors Sophia Nielsen, Bailey Todd, Courtney Todd, Rebekah Merrow, Megan Miller and Heggenes.
“Looking back, I’m just so proud of the team,” Jones said.