Volleyball beats Mount Si again

The Mercer Island girls volleyball team took control of its own destiny on Monday as it defeated Mount Si, 3-1, at Mercer Island High School. The Islanders were led by Shayda Sanii and Janelle Chow, who combined for 25 of the Islanders’ first 50 points of the match.

“Yes, we did want to make a statement,” said Islander coach Dino Annest. “They want to make it really clear that they earned [the league title]. They didn’t have to back in with a loss. They earned it.”

The victory gives the Islanders the inside track to the KingCo championship with a game and a half lead on Juanita and a 23-game in-league win streak dating back to 2006.

Sanii and Chow were ready from the start of the match, with 13 points during the first game. But Mount Si was ready despite missing two starters. The game saw five lead changes before Chow and Sanii combined for five points in an 8-2 run that gave Mercer Island a 22-16 lead. The Islanders won the game on a Chow ace, 25-18.

Mount Si kept the second game close during the opening rallies, leading to six ties during the first 12 points. But Sanii and Chow took over again, scoring five consecutive points and sparking a 10-2 run. Mercer Island would go on to win the game 25-16.

The Wildcats, who have given the Islanders a run for their money during the past two seasons, refused to go home with a shutout. Mount Si dominated the third game with runs of 9-2 and 10-1.

“We just got out of our element,” said Sanii. “We kind of let some things go by that we don’t normally let go.”

Despite a late rally on the serves of Ally Bray, who scored five aces during an 8-0 run, the Wildcats won the game 25-20.

“We thought we could beat them in three games and let it get to us,” said Chow. “Runs are crucial in volleyball and we could have come back but we were too timid in the beginning.”

Mercer Island regrouped during the fourth game behind the power of Chow and Sanii. The duo teamed up to score 11 points, including four consecutive aces by Chow. The Islanders would put Mount Si away on a Chow spike, 25-21.

“Shayda and I warm up together and we were really pumped for this match,” said Chow. “We work hard every practice and we can’t let up. We have to still think that every team is Mount Si or Eastside Catholic.”

Mercer Island still has five matches left in the season, including one against second place Juanita.

“This team has enough experience that they know what it takes to get through the playoffs,” said Annest.

The Islanders will travel to Bellevue Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game against the Wolverines.

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