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Islanders qualify for state tournament | District volleyball results
After falling early on the in the SeaKing district tournament, Mercer Island pushed their way back up through the consolation bracket to earn a spot in the 3A state tournament.
"Our biggest goal of the last couple years has been to make state so to finally get there they are so excited," said head coach Susan McKay. The last time the Islanders made the journey to state was in 2008 where the team finished fourth.
The team Saturday afternoon the Islanders faced Lake Washington in the first round of consolation games after falling to Holy Names last Thursday.
"After the loss to Holy Names the team was upset, but I think it ended up being a huge motivator," said McKay. "They saw that we were playing teams at the highest level and knowing we were it in gave them confidence they could do it. I kept telling them we were still in it, but it would just be a little harder to get there."
Against the Kangs, the Islanders won 3-1. Mercer Island took games one and two 25-21 and 25-20 in hard fought games. In game three the opponents swapped the lead throughout the game. Partway through, Lake Washington libero Katie Harding hurt her arm, forcing her to leave the game. After losing the senior on the court, the Kangs took a commanding lead, winning game three 25-21.
But Mercer Island wasn't ready to end the season just yet, taking the final game of the set 25-19.
In the next round, the Islanders met Bainbridge just 30 minutes after finishing the game over Lake Washington. Mercer Island won the first two games, but dropped the third.
"I think going into the third game they knew they were just a win away from state and they got too excited. We had to regroup," said McKay. The team brought their game back in the fourth and fifth games to win, and officially earn a spot at state.
In the game to determine seeding held shortly after the Bainbridge game, the Islanders faced Mount Si, the No. 1 team from KingCo which the Islanders had lost the KingCo title to. Mount Si again proved victorious on the court, but Mercer Island earned the No. 4 seed out of District 2.
"I think the biggest thing we have to realize is that now that we're playing a higher level it's about who makes the fewest mistakes. It's not necessarily the 'better' team that wins, but the one that makes less mistakes, especially at the end of the game. We still have too many mental errors, like being in the net or serving. We have to cut down on those now that we're playing the best of the best."
The state meet begins this Friday, Nov. 11 at St. Martin's University in Lacey, Wash. The Islanders first game is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. against West Valley High School from Yakima.
Tickets for the tournament for adults and students without ASB cards at $9 for one day or $15 for the whole tournament. Seniors and students with ASB cards are $7 for a single day or $10 for the whole tournament. Children ages 5 and under are free.
More information on the state tournament can be found at online at www.wiaa.com.