Leielle Salinger tips for a point for Oak Harbor. (Photo by John Fisken)

Oak Harbor, Coupeville coaches praise play despite losses / Volleyball

Despite both their volleyball squads losing 3-0 Tuesday, Sept. 19, coaches Kerri Molitor of Oak Harbor and Cory Whitmore of Coupeville were happy with their team’s play.

Oak Harbor lost 25-17, 25-15, 25-16 to visiting Stanwood, while the Wolves lost 25-19, 25-22, 25-18 at Bellevue Christian.

Stanwood 3, Oak Harbor 0

“I think we played way better than we did over the weekend,” Molitor said in reference to Oak Harbor’s trip to the Sundome Festival in Yakima.

“I saw improvement; I saw good communication,” she added. “We lost to a good team, and I am really happy how we played.”

The Wildcats faced the Spartans (2-0, 3-1) down two starters, Ceirra Dean and Kristina Tirado, and with a third, Samantha Hines, limited because of illness.

Molitor lauded the play of Sherilyne Fernandez, who filled in for Dean as the defensive specialist. Fernandez finished with nine digs.

Stanwood’s high-powered attack, which included 32 kills, kept the Wildcat defense scrambling and didn’t allow Oak Harbor to get into a rhythm on offense.

The teams were tied at 10 in the first game, then Stanwood used seven kills to finish the set on a 11-5 run.

The Spartans jumped to a 9-1 lead in the second game, and the Wildcats never trimmed the gap to less than seven from there.

Oak Harbor trailed by only one, 10-9, midway through the third game, then the Spartans slowly pulled away.

Hailee Blau recorded seven kills and two blocks for Oak Harbor, Andrea Rubin dished out 18 assists and Cami Bristow collected 12 digs.

Oak Harbor (1-1, 2-2) goes to Shorewood (0-2, 0-5) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21.

Bellevue Christian 3, Coupeville 0

“I’m please with some things that I saw us do that we may not have a year ago or even a couple weeks ago,” Whitmore said. “I’m proud of our fight tonight. The scores may not show just how close each set was, but we left the gym feeling like we left it all out there and really stayed competitive with them.”

The Wolves had a strong showing across the stat sheet: Ashley Menges, six aces, nine assists; Hope Lodell, two aces, six digs; Payton Aparicio two aces, five digs; Kyla Briscoe, four kills, six digs; Emma Smith, five kills; Mikayla Elfrank, four kills; and Lauren Rose, 10 assists.

Whitmore praised the play of Menges, who was “staying aggressive from the service line,” and Smith, who was “playing faster than the ball, both as an attacker and a blocker.”

Whitmore also liked his team’s defense at the net: “Our blocking is starting to become a strong part of our game — tonight we had eight total team blocks. It was needed versus a very strong Bellevue Christian offense.”

On offense, Whitmore liked how the Wolves “went at their block instead of avoiding it and playing timid.”

“Bellevue Christian was required to earn the points they put on the board,” he said. “We battled and, at this early point in the season, that’s what I want to see. We’ll go back to watch some film and look for areas of improvement and hopefully get another chance to play them later in the postseason.”

Coupeville (2-1) goes to North Mason (3-2) for a nonleague match at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21.

Kia Ceya serves in the match with Stanwood. (Photo by John Fisken)

Samantha Hines hits for Oak Harbor. (Photo by John Fisken)

Hailee Blau passes for the Wildcats Tuesday. (Photo by John Fisken)

Wildcat Jaslin Webster fires a jump serve against Stanwood. (Photo by John Fisken)

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