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Wildcats open state tournament with win | Volleyball
The Oak Harbor High School volleyball team continued its hot streak by defeating Eastside Catholic 3-2 in the opening round of the state tournament Friday, Nov. 15, at Saint Martin's University in Lacey.
The Wildcats will play the winner of top-ranked Southridge of Kennewick (26-1) and Bishop Blanchet (10-12) at 6:45 p.m. Friday in the double elimination tournament.
Two weeks ago Oak Harbor had a 3-10 record; it has won five of its last six matches to raise its mark to 8-11.
Oak Harbor overcame several huge momentum swings to earn the win over Eastside Catholic 27-25, 25-23, 21-25, 16-25, 15-10.
In game one, the Wildcats rocketed to a 18-9 lead and led 24-19 before the Crusaders put on a late push and went up 25-24. Oak Harbor wrestled the momentum back to pull out the win.
After another close win in game two, Oak Harbor "just kind of shut down," according to coach Kerri Molitor, in games three and four.
Entering the decisive game five, Molitor said her team "took a deep breath and decided to play to win rather than play not to lose."
Senior Kayleigh Harper "really came through" in the fifth game, Molitor said, and helped Oak Harbor jump to an early lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Harper finished with 25 kills and six blocks.
Hailey Beecher had 41 assists and was awarded the sportsmanship medallion given after each match by the linesmen.
Claire Anderson collected eight kills, while Deanna Rueben had 13 digs and AnnaBelle Whitefoot 10.
Amelia Berner served four aces and paced the offense in the first two matches, according to Molitor.
Whether the Oak Harbor win was an upset depends on what poll one views.
In final Seattle Times rankings, Eastside Catholic, which now has a 17-5 record, was ranked sixth and Oak Harbor was unranked.
In the final state coaches' poll, Oak Harbor finished ninth and Eastside Catholic 10th..