Hampered by the jitters of the big stage, the Oak Harbor High School volleyball team lost its first two matches at the state tournament Friday, Nov. 16, in Yakima’s SunDome and was eliminated.
The Wildcats lost to a pair of Vancouver schools that shared the Greater St. Helens League regular season title, Prairie and Mountain View.
Oak Harbor coach Kerri Molitor said her team simply did not play well.
“We freaked out being at state,” she said. “We were kind of frozen.”
“Many teams come here every year and are used to the experience,” Molitor added.
Prairie is one of those. The sixth-ranked Falcons (15-4) were making their eighth-straight trip to state, placing five times, including fifth last year and first in 2012.
That experience may have been the difference in their 25-23, 25-10, 25-21 win over Oak Harbor.
This was the Wildcats first trip to state since 2013 and only the third since 1991.
The Wildcats (13-6) struggled from the service line, missing 13 times. Several of the miscues were back-to-back and kept Oak Harbor out of any offensive rhythm, according to Molitor.
“That just kills you,” she said. “We just seemed to be one step behind.”
Leah Quidachay finished with 23 assists, Morgan Pease had 15 kills and a block, Leielle Salinger added five kills and 2.5 blocks and Cami Bristow chipped in with five kills.
Mountain View (16-5) edged the Wildcats 3-2, winning 25-16, 20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-8.
Pease blasted 21 kills and had two blocks, and Salinger recorded 16 kills and 2.5 blocks to lead Oak Harbor.
Bristow collected nine kills and four aces, while Quidachay dished out 47 assists.
Regardless of the outcome, state was “a great experience,” Molitor said. “We are always learning.”