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Volleyball: Oak Harbor earns trip to state tournament
For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Oak Harbor High School volleyball team will make a trip to the state tournament.
The Wildcats earned a berth in the 2010 event by placing third in the Northwest District tournament last week.
Oak Harbor blanked Mount Vernon 3-0 and nipped Shorewood 3-2 Saturday, Nov. 6, at Glacier Peak to punch its ticket to state. Earlier in the week in the opening rounds of district, Oak Harbor knocked off Glacier Peak 3-2 and lost to Ferndale 3-0.
Oak Harbor begins state play Friday at 1:30 p.m. against West Valley of Yakima at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. The winner and loser of that match will then advance to take on the winner and loser of Holy Names (Seattle) and Kennedy (Burien) in the 16-team double elimination tournament.
The schedule makers didn't do the unranked Wildcats any favors. West Valley is ranked No. 1 in the state in the latest Seattle Times poll and Kennedy is No. 5. Holy Names was ranked in the top 10 until this week.
Meadowdale won the district tournament and received the top seed; Ferndale was second.
The loss to Ferndale at district dropped Oak Harbor (13-5) into elimination games with Mount Vernon (10-9) and Shorewood (11-7).
The Wildcats, showing little hangover from the Ferndale loss, smoked Mount Vernon 25-13, 25-15, 25-19.
Coach Kerri Molitor said, "We played really well and didn't make any errors, and Mount Vernon kind of fell apart."
She added, "It helped that we had great support; our fans filled our side of the stands."
Jordan Faralan led the Oak Harbor charge with 21 assists and three aces.
Amanda Blau recorded seven kills and Roshel Muzzall added six.
Molitor said that by "taking care of business" and dispatching Mount Vernon quickly put Oak Harbor in a "good position against Shorewood."
The Thunderbirds were taxed by a long, tense 3-2 win over Glacier Peak.
The Wildcats took advantage of the physically and mentally fatigued T-birds and won game one 25-13.
However, Shorewood responded by taking the next two matches 25-23.
After game one, the Wildcats began to play "more careful," Molitor said and were less aggressive: "We were very cautious, trying to keep the ball in play instead of trying to score."
With its season on the brink, Oak Harbor rallied to take the next two games, 25-19 and 15-11, and earn a trip to state.
The win also avenged a 3-2 loss to Shorewood during the regular season.
The final match came down to the wire, then with Kelsey Terrazas-Cooley serving, Oak Harbor put away the Thunderbirds.
The ending was a bit ironic, Molitor said, because she had been replacing Terrazas-Cooley at the service line much of the day. Given the chance to help her club, the senior hit two aces to fuel the last Oak Harbor charge.
Faralan "set really well," Molitor said, piling up 42 assists. Molitor added that Christina Alexander played "really good defense and didn't miss a serve.
Faralan and Alexander weren't the only stars.
Blau had 11 kills and four blocks; Muzzall nine kills, six blocks and two aces; Janessa Ramos nine kills; Katelyn Bristow eight kills and 23 digs; Kristine Bouchard six kills, seven blocks and two aces; and Terrazas-Cooley 24 digs and three aces.
Molitor said, "It was definitely a whole team effort."
Molitor, now in her 11th year as the Wildcat coach, hopes this is the beginning of another Oak Harbor dynasty in volleyball. The Wildcats went to state eight times from 1982 to 1991. Molitor, an Oak Harbor grad, played on several of those teams.