The Friday Harbor volleyball team staked out new territory with a landmark performance in its regular-season finale Tuesday at home against league-leading La Conner.
Though the visiting Braves, undefeated in league play at 11-0, claimed the best-of-five game match with three consecutive wins, Game 2 was up for grabs up until the very end.
In addition, the Wolverines jumped out to an early 4-2 lead in Game 3 and matched La Conner blow-for-blow until the perennial 2B Division powerhouse snapped an 8-8 tie, rattled off 11 straight points and then ran away with a 25-11 victory, as well as the match, in the third and final game. The Braves, who have not lost a single game to a league opponent, prevailed by scores of 25-11, 25-20, 25-11.
Still, Head Coach Travis Mager said it’s the best outing the Wolverines have had against the Braves during his five-year tenure at the helm.
“Never before had we been in the lead in a game with La Conner, let alone take 20 points off them,” Mager said. “Today was the first day I felt like we could hold our own against them.”
While the Wolverines may have hit a high-water mark against La Conner, the contest proved bittersweet, with four seniors playing before the home crowd for the last time. It was the last chance to lay it all on the line, senior Kayla Short said.
“I was thinking about it every single second I was out there on the court,” Short said. “It was like, ‘This is my last chance, it’s my the last chance to do something against those guys.’ We did the best I think we could do against them in that second game.”
The Wolverines finished a 12-game Northwest 1A/2B League schedule at 2-10, and the regular-season at 2-14 overall. They open post-season play against Meridian (6-8) Saturday at the District 1 playoffs at Lynden Christian, beginning at 11 a.m.
Mager credits the determination and perseverance of the team’s four seniors for helping to raise the competitiveness and profile of the volleyball program during their tenure on the team.
“There’s no giving up in that group,” Mager said of the four seniors. “There’s been so much improvement from where this team was five years ago, and they’re the ones that started the change. They won’t get the benefit of all that improvement record-wise, unfortunately, but this program is better by leaps and bounds from where it was because of them.”