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Mercer Island volleyball wins state championship | Prep volleyball
They went undefeated in conference play, just like last year. They went into the state tournament with high hopes, just like last year. And after the tournament was over, there were tears. But those were different than last year's.
The Mercer Island High School volleyball team won the 2013 3A state championship Saturday, Nov. 16, beating Holy Names Academy 3-2 at St. Martin's University in Lacey, Wash. It was the Islanders' first state championship.
"This is the most incredible feeling," coach Susan McKay said. "I don't think it has fully sunk in yet. [A state championship] was my dream as a player and I didn't accomplish it, but accomplishing it as a coach is that much better."
The Islanders began the final round trading sets with the Cougars, dropping the opener 25-21 and then winning the second set 25-16. After losing 25-23, the Islanders took the fourth set 25-15. They went on to take the fifth and final set 15-13, securing the state title.
It was the second five-set match of the day for Mercer Island. In the semifinal round, the Islanders survived a scare from Southridge High School, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to edge the Suns 3-2. Senior Sarah Lindquist scored the winning kill for the Islanders.
"We have standout players, but in this match, every single person contributed with key serves and key blocks when we needed it,” McKay said of the Southridge match. "It was just perfect when Sarah’s in the front row and she gets that last set and you just know that she’s going to get a kill."
Two of those standout players for the Islanders, Lindquist and sophomore Jemma Yeadon, were named to the State All-Tournament Team. Lindquist was also named Tournament MVP. Lindquist praised the composure of her teammates after overcoming consecutive 2-1 deficits in Saturday's matches.
"Every point was meaningful," Lindquist said. "It's just about finishing no matter how long the match is, staying composed and staying tough and staying disciplined. There’s no point in having doubt and no point in playing with fear. It's just about going for it, playing 100 percent and doing the best we can and playing together as a unit. We did that, and I couldn’t be more proud of this team."
Heading into the state volleyball championships, McKay said there was a sense of a second chance with the Islanders after last year's first-round loss to Prairie, a bad memory that made Saturday's championship victory that much sweeter for the Islanders.
"I'm so proud of this team, especially after last year where we felt like we were kind of robbed and didn't play fully to our potential," McKay said. "To be able to do it this year is unbelievable. I love this team, I am so proud of them. Every single person was part of why we won."
The Islanders finished the season undefeated in KingCo play, with a 14-0 conference record and a 22-2 record overall.