Mercer Island volleyball prepares for postseason; KingCo this weekend

The postseason race begins this weekend for the Mercer Island girls volleyball team with the KingCo tournament.

The Islanders, who beat Sammamish and Liberty last week before falling to 4A Newport on Thursday, faced off against undefeated conference leader Mount Si on Monday night in the final game of the regular season, losing 3-1. The team will travel to Sammamish High School this Friday for the beginning of the KingCo tournament.

Head coach Susan Rindlaub said she has seen improvement in every game from the young team, but they are still working on a few things, hoping to maximize their performance this November.

“We’re getting mentally tougher,” said the coach. “There are still little breakdowns that occur and we lose too many points in a row, and then sometimes it’s hard for us to come back. That’s the biggest thing for us — to be more consistent and not lose five or six points in a row. I am proud of them; they are getting better. We’re a young team, and they are really stepping it up and playing more aggressively than they did at the beginning. They keep playing hard; they aren’t waiting for the other team to lose. They are actually trying to win it.”

With the loss on Monday, the Islanders secured the No. 3 spot in the tournament, facing Lake Washington at 5:30 p.m. Friday. But as Rindlaub said, either way the team would face Juanita again if they are to make the championship game. To get there, the Islanders will have to make sure they stay consistent in their game.

“Consistency and doing the little things right,” said Rindlaub of the keys to playing their game. “Sometimes, we force ourselves to work too hard, we make all these amazing plays and then the ball will just drop. That’s the thing we have to stop because if we’re going to play against better teams in the playoffs, we have to do the easy things right.”

While the team didn’t make their goal of winning KingCo, they can still finish the season accomplishing their overall goal, which is to make the state tournament. To get there the Islanders will have to finish in the top four at the KingCo tournament and then in the top five at the SeaKing district tournament, which begins Nov. 4. The state tournament starts Nov. 12 in Kennewick.

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