Oak Harbor celebrates its win over Stanwood in the district opener Tuesday. From the left are Leielle Salinger, Payton Parks, Gredina DeGuzman, Annie Salinger, Jaslin Webster and Morgan Pease. (Photo by John Fisken)

Oak Harbor celebrates its win over Stanwood in the district opener Tuesday. From the left are Leielle Salinger, Payton Parks, Gredina DeGuzman, Annie Salinger, Jaslin Webster and Morgan Pease. (Photo by John Fisken)

Wildcats win district opener, play for state berth tonight / Volleyball

After defeating visiting Stanwood 3-0 in the opening round of the district volleyball tournament Tuesday, Nov. 12, Oak Harbor High School will try to secure a spot in the state tournament when it takes on Snohomish at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Marysville-Pilchuck.

The winner of the Oak Harbor/Snohomish semifinal will clinch a spot in the state tournament and advance to the district championship game to play either Ferndale or Arlington at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at M-P.

The Oak Harbor/Snohomish loser will need to win twice Saturday to claim the third and final district berth into the state tournament.

There were no upsets in the opening round of the eight-team, double-elimination district tournament Tuesday. In addition to 12th-ranked Oak Harbor’s (13-2) win over Stanwood, fourth-ranked Arlington (15-0) beat Lynnwood 3-0, sixth-ranked Ferndale (12-3) topped Edmonds-Woodway 3-1 and ninth-ranked Snohomish (13-2) blanked Shorecrest 3-0.

Oak Harbor will be looking for some revenge when it takes on Snohomish Thursday. The Panthers defeated the Wildcats 3-1 Oct. 22 during conference play, in a match Oak Harbor coach Kerri Molitor felt her team didn’t play its best.

Oak Harbor 3, Stanwood 0

Stanwood (8-7) pushed Oak Harbor to the brink when the two teams faced each other during the regular season before the Wildcats prevailed 3-2 (14-25, 25-12, 25-9, 26-28, 18-16) Oct. 10.

Oak Harbor swept all three games Tuesday (25-21, 25-22, 25-20), but it took a late-set surge in each for the Wildcats to seal the match.

The Wildcats feel behind 6-2 in the opening game but eventually tied the set at 10-10.

Two kills from Jasmine Ford, one from Leielle Salinger and an ace from Annie Salinger helped Oak Harbor go up 16-13.

The Spartans bounced back to knot the score at 18, then kills from Ford and Payton Parks and a kill and block from Leielle Salinger spurred Oak Harbor to the 25-21 win.

The second game was close throughout. Other than Oak Harbor’s 16-13 lead, neither team led by more than two until the end. Leielle Salinger had five kills and two aces in the set to pace the Wildcat offense.

Three kills from Morgan Pease, two tips from Ford and a kill and block by Parks carried Oak Harbor to a 13-6 lead in the three game.

The Spartans rallied to get to within one, 20-19, before kills from Leielle Salinger and Parks helped cement the win.

Leielle Salinger finished with 13 kills, seven digs, two blocks and four aces; Parks had five kills, seven digs and two blocks; Pease added 11 kills and 13 digs; Annie Salinger collected 32 assists, three aces and a block; and Ford recorded seven kills and two blocks.

Molitor attributed the slow start in the first game to “nerves,” but praised her team for fighting through and “staying focused.”

“We played together as a team, accepted our roles,” she said, adding “we transitioned better into our offense.”

Molitor lauded the play of setter Annie Salinger.

“She continues to hustle and learn and is starting to lead the court more,” Molitor said. “She maintains her composure, even when she is a little off, and she plays good, disciplined defense.”

Payton Parks tips over Stanwood’s block.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Payton Parks tips over Stanwood’s block. (Photo by John Fisken)

Morgan Pease taps the ball by Stanwoo’d Grace Henken.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Morgan Pease taps the ball by Stanwoo’d Grace Henken. (Photo by John Fisken)

Jaslin Webster launched a serve for Oak Harbor.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Jaslin Webster launched a serve for Oak Harbor. (Photo by John Fisken)

Gredina DeGuzman passes for the Wildcats.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Gredina DeGuzman passes for the Wildcats. (Photo by John Fisken)

Annie Salinger uses a pass to set up a teammate.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Annie Salinger uses a pass to set up a teammate. (Photo by John Fisken)

Payton Parks reacts to a kill.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Payton Parks reacts to a kill. (Photo by John Fisken)

Morgan Pease controls the net.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Morgan Pease controls the net. (Photo by John Fisken)