Everett abruptly ended Oak Harbor's volleyball season by eliminating the Wildcats 3-1 at the district tournament Thursday, Nov. 1, at Glacier Peak High School.
The Wildcats weren't able to match Tuesday's opening performance at district when they played some of their best volleyball of the season, particularly on defense, according to coach Kerri Molitor. Oak Harbor upset Meadowdale 3-2 and then went toe-to-toe with top seed Stanwood before falling 3-1.
Oak Harbor (8-9) needed to defeat Everett (11-7) to stay alive in the tournament, but the Seagulls took the match 25-16, 11-25, 25-22, 25-22.
Everett then lost to Glacier Peak 3-2, with the Grizzlies claiming the third and final Wesco spot in the state tournament.
Shorewood defeated Stanwood 3-0 for the district title; both will advance to state.
Defense was the key in the Everett/Oak Harbor match. Everett was able to more consistently dig Oak Harbor's hot shots, something Meadowdale and Stanwood had trouble with Tuesday. Oak Harbor's defense, especially its rotation for court coverage, suffered against the Seagulls, according to Molitor.
Each team cruised to easy wins the first two games. In the first set, the two teams were tied 7-7, then Everett went on a 9-2 run to pull away.
Oak Harbor fell behind 2-0 in the second game then erupted behind Kayleigh Harper's five kills, four blocks and ace to swamp the Seagulls.
In game three, no team led by more than two as they tussled to a 15-15 tie. Everett surged to a 20-16 lead, but the Wildcats knotted it at 22 with the help of two kills each by Harper and Roshel Muzzall. Three Everett kills then sewed up the set.
Harper and Roshel Muzzall each had six kills in the game.
Three kills by Harper and a kill and ace by Kelsey Rankin lifted Oak Harbor to a 9-5 lead in game four. Everett eventually tied it at 13 then inched ahead for the win, despite seven kills by Harper and six by Muzzall.
The Wildcats played without starting outside hitter Amelia Berner who rolled an ankle last week. Middle Claire Anderson saw very limited action because she was still "rusty" after returning from a concussion, Molitor said.
The loss finished the career for seven seniors: Muzzall, Rankin, Taylor Nienhuis, Hannah Salmons, Stephanie Milliron, Ally McGuire and Hannah Christensen.
Molitor said it is tough to see the group go: "They are great kids."