MI volleyball improves to 7-0 with win over Seattle Prep

By Matt Phelps

Mercer Island Reporter

The Mercer Island volleyball team has picked up where it left off in 2007 when it cruised through the regular season with an undefeated record. The Islanders pushed their record to a perfect 5-0 in league play and 7-0 overall with a dominating 3-0 victory against Seattle Prep Friday at Mercer Island High School.

"We really have a balanced team. Everyone can set and pass," said Islander head coach Dino Annest. "The chemistry is at least as good as last year."

That chemistry has come through on the court with very little miss communication leading to unforced errors.

Against the Panthers very little communication was even needed.

"We have played together so long that we know what the other person is going to do," said Shayda Sanii.

Mercer Island's team work led to a dominating 25-11 first game victory over Prep. Key aces by Janelle Chow, a momentum swinging 12-2 run, along with three big blocks by Allison Bray towards the end of the game contributed to the victory.

"We have really good communication and many of the girls are really stepping up," said Bray. "Just great communication."

The second game began with neither team able to take a distinct advantage. A small run by prep gave the Metro team its biggest lead of the match at 14-10. But the Islanders stormed back on a 7-0 run to take their first substantial lead of the game 18-15 thanks to a key tip kill by Sabrina Rasmussen. Mercer Island built on the lead until Chow sent a screaming spike down the right side of the Panthers' side of the court for the 25-19 victory.

But Seattle Prep refused to go quietly as the third game looked to be in the Islanders hands. A 7-0 run by Mercer Island gave the team an early 9-3 lead and all the momentum. The Panthers would battle back to tie the game at 16-16. A Prep run of 5-0 gave the visitors a 22-20 lead as they threatened to force a fourth game. But Sanii would come up big with three consecutive kills to force the game past 25-25. At 27-27 Rasmussen came up with a big kill and an ace by Chelsea Jurkovich put the game away 29-27.

"We felt a little pressure at the end," said Bray. "We are trying to send a statement to Mount Si by staying undefeated."

Mount Si has emerged as the Islanders big threat during the regular season. The Wildcats pushed Mercer Island to the limit Sept. 17 at Mount Si High School. The Islanders came away with a 3-2 victory by playing big time defense which set a school record for digs in a game with 109. Jurkovich (23) and Chow (25) had nearly half of those digs during the game, while Ariel Dewey led the team with 37 assists. Despite the Cats forcing a fifth game during the match, Mercer Island put their rivals from up I-90 away with a 15-8 fifth game drubbing.

Mercer Island gets a bit of a break this week with its only match taking place Wednesday as they host Sammamish High School.

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