The road to the state tournament just got a lot rougher for the Oak Harbor High School volleyball team.
The Wildcats lost 3-0 to Snohomish in a winner-to-state district tournament semifinal match Thursday, Nov. 14, at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Oak Harbor now drops into the consolation bracket and must win two loser-out matches to finish third and nab the final berth to state.
Snohomish advances to the district championship match and will face Ferndale at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at M-P
to determine the top two seeds from District 1 into the state tournament.
In the other semifinal match Thursday against what most considered the best two teams at district, sixth-ranked Ferndale (13-3) slipped by previously unbeaten and fourth-ranked Arlington 3-1 in a 25-22, 26-28, 25-23, 25-22 slugfest.
Oak Harbor (13-3) now faces tough Edmonds-Woodway (13-4), winners of 11 of its past 12 matches, at 11 a.m. Saturday at Marysville-Pilchuck. That winner will take on the winner of Arlington (15-1) and Shorecrest (9-9) at 3 p.m. Saturday for third place and a state berth.
Snohomish 3, Oak Harbor 0
Snohomish buried the Wildcats 25-11 in the first game, came from nine down to win the second 25-23 and broke open a close game with a big finish to claim the third set 25-19.
In the first game, Oak Harbor’s poor passing kept the Wildcats from producing much offense. Sending free ball after free ball to the Panthers, Oak Harbor was peppered by 19 Snohomish kills.
The second game was a back-breaker for the Wildcats. Oak Harbor “calmed down,” according to coach Kerri Molitor, and raced to a 13-4 lead behind three kills by Morgan Pease and three blocks by the Oak Harbor front line.
The Wildcats still led 19-13 with the help of two kills each from Payton Parks and Leielle Salinger but couldn’t put the Panthers away.
Snohomish rattled off six straight points to knot the match at 19.
Salinger provided two more kills and Oak Harbor went back up 22-19.
The Panthers recovered and blitzed the Wildcats with a 6-1 finish.
In the third set, Snohomish took its first lead at 4-3 and never trailed. Oak Harbor came from four down to get within one, 19-18, but the Panthers, again, produced a powerful finish to win the match.
Pease paced Oak Harbor with nine kills, 12 digs and two blocks, while Parks had seven kills, 14 digs and three blocks. Salinger tallied seven kills and eight digs, and her sister Annie added 23 assists and 18 digs.
Molitor said the outcome would have been worse without the play of libero Gredina DeGuzman. She praised DeGuzman’s hustle in guarding the back line, coming up with several diving saves on the way to 20 digs.