Wolverines fall to Orcas in five-game thriller

In the game of volleyball, momentum can turn on a dime.

And it was a steep price the Wolverines paid after losing it. Orcas overcame a 4-point deficit in the fifth and final game to claim a hotly-contested match up between the inter-island rivals Thursday in Turnbull Gym.

Trailing 7-3 in the finale, the Vikings outscored Friday Harbor 12-3 down the stretch to bag a drama-filled win on the road, and a sweep of the season series. Orcas raised its Northwest 1A/2B League record to 5-4, while the Wolverines fell to 2-6.

It's the first time in recent years the Wolverines forced Orcas into five games and, according to Friday Harbor Head Coach Travis Major, it's a match that the home team could have won.

The Vikings, with a sprint to the finish line, prevailed, 24-26, 25-12, 16-25, 25-23, 15-10.

"That's the toughest we've played against them," Major said. "But we've got a couple of girls still under the weather and I think may be we were too tired at the end. It's just the way the ball bounces sometimes."

In the opener, the ball bounced the Wolverines way. They withstood a Viking rally and grabbed the first game and an early advantage with a 26-24 victory. Orcas answered with a dominating 25-12 win to even the match. Friday Harbor won the third game and Orcas snagged the fourth to send the contest into sudden death.

Though Friday Harbor jumped ahead 3-0, the Vikings, led by senior Anika Thomas' savvy play at the net, took control of the contest and out-hit the Wolverines down the stretch. Communication and well-placed passes were the key, Viking Head Coach Greg Sasan said.

"We knew coming into this, especially here in Friday Harbor, they were going to be prepared, and they were," Sasan said. "This one I'm going to remember for a long time."

The Wolverines won't wait long for an opportunity to avenge the loss. They host Shoreline Christian Saturday, beginning at noon, in Turnbull Gym. The last three match ups between the league opponents have gone five games; with the Crusaders prevailing in each.

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