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'Cats nip GP for critical win | Volleyball
Showing some grit, the Oak Harbor High School volleyball team eked out a 3-2 win over visiting Glacier Peak Thursday, Oct. 20, and guaranteed itself of two home district matches.
Regardless of the outcome of the regular season finale at Everett (3-6, 6-6) Wednesday, Oct. 26, the Wildcats (8-2, 9-4) can finish no lower than second in Wesco and will host the first two rounds of district Monday, Oct. 31.
Glacier Peak and Oak Harbor are the host schools for district and entered Thursday's match tied for second. If the two teams end up in the same district bracket, the higher seed will play at home.
The Wildcats secured the better seed with Thursday's win -- but it wasn't easy.
It, however, appeared easy early as Oak Harbor dominated the first two games with 25-9, 25-17 wins. The Grizzlies bounced back by taking the next two sets 25-22 and 25-18 as the Wildcats were on the verge of a huge collapse.
Oak Harbor regrouped, toughened mentally, handled the pressure of the tense fifth game and won 15-10.
Wildcat coach Kerri Molitor said her team relaxed too much after the first two games: "We just expected it (winning) to happen instead of making it happen."
She said the match win was a "matter of each kid doing her own part, no one trying to be the hero."
Molitor said her team rallied in the fifth game because they "really wanted to have district at home."
Oak Harbor spurted to a 9-1 lead in game one on two kills by Kayleigh Harper and six GP errors.
Outstanding passing helped setter Taylor Nienhuis, who finished with 37 assists for the match, get the Oak Harbor offense going and frustrated the Grizzly attack.
Three kills and two aces by Roshel Muzzall helped close out the win.
Trailing 10-9 in game two, Janine DeGuzman recorded two kills to start Oak Harbor on an 11-3 run.
The Wildcats appeared to be heading toward a sweep as they led 19-14 in game three before the Grizzly offense woke up. Seven Glacier Peak kills and an ace helped GP grab the set.
The Grizzlies never trailed in the fourth set and broke open a close match by finishing on a 10-3 run.
Kills by Muzzall and Kelsey Rankin pushed Oak Harbor to a 7-3 lead in game five before the Grizzlies stormed back to tie it at 8. From there it was all Oak Harbor. A tip and ace from Muzzall, a kill by DeGuzman and a Rankin/DeGuzman block fueled the fast finish.
Muzzall finished with 15 kills and 14 digs, DeGuzman 13 kills and 19 digs, Harper five kills and five blocks, Rankin six kills and Christina Alexander 15 digs.
Molitor lauded the all-around play of Amanda Pavey who chipped in with 20 digs and four aces.