Upset wins keeps Oak Harbor in hunt for playoff berth / Volleyball

The Oak Harbor volleyball team upset Lynnwood 3-2 Tuesday, winning the thrilling fifth set 22-20.

A marathon, 3-2 upset win over visiting Lynnwood Tuesday, Oct. 18, helped the Oak Harbor High School volleyball team stay in the race for a district tournament berth.

The Wildcats were also aided by two record-setting performances. Setter Andrea Ruben dished out 57 assists, breaking Janae Payne’s single match mark of 53 set last fall. Lauren May collected 26 digs, giving her 307 for the season and pushing her past Roshel Muzzall’s former school single season record of 307 set in 2012. Nine Wesco teams move on to the playoffs, and Oak Harbor (3-6, 4-7) sits in a tie for eighth place with Marysville-Pilchuck (3-6, 3-8). Marysville Getchell is a half game back (3-7, 3-9), and Edmonds-Woodway (4-5, 5-6) is a game in front. The Wildcats next match is at Marysville-Pilchuck at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20. Oak Harbor goes to Shorecrest (0-10, 0-12) Monday, Oct. 24, and finishes the regular season at home with Everett (2-7, 2-9) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Going into the Lynnwood match, Oak Harbor at 2-6 and the Royals at 6-2, had opposite records. The Wildcats stunned Lynnwood with several impressive comebacks in the 25-22, 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 22-20 win.

The Royals raced to a 6-0 lead in the first game, then Oak Harbor chipped away. Down 22-20, the Wildcats finished the set on a 5-0 run. Julie Jansen got the surge going with a kill, then Hailee Blau added four more to complete the rally.

The second set was tied at 7, then the Royals went on a 4-0 run to pull away.

Oak Harbor led most of the third game but never by more than three points. Up 23-22, Oak Harbor secured the win with kills from Cami Bristow and Blau.

In the fourth game, Oak Harbor went up 15-11 and then the Royals eventually took the lead for good at 19-18.

The Wildcats saved their best for last. Oak Harbor fell behind 7-1 in the race to 15 in the fifth game. Two tips and a back row kill from Bristow brought the ‘Cats to within three, 9-6, and then Camden Miller fired three consecutive aces to even the score.

The teams were tied again at 14, but neither could earn the necessary two-point lead until Oak Harbor, up 21-20, stopped the heart-stressing madness on a Blau kill off a Royal block.

Oak Harbor coach Kerri Molitor said communication and action were the keys to winning: “When we are quiet (verbally and physically), we make errors.”

She added that her team gained some confidence from its experience at a tournament in Wenatchee over the weekend, which included several comebacks.

“We hung in there; we didn’t just do that quiet thing.”

In addition to her record setting 57 assists, Ruben had 14 digs.

Blau collected 29 kills, 14 digs and 1.5 blocks, and Bristow added 18 kills and 20 digs.

Samantha Hines recorded seven kills and a block, Miller had six aces and Kristina Tirado had a team-leading three blocks.