Islanders volleyball takes KingCo tournament title

The Mercer Island girls volleyball team captured the KingCo tournament championship after a five-game marathon against Mount Si in the title match. The Islanders were able to edge out the Wildcats in their third meeting of the season, 3-2, to take the tournament title. The final scores were: 12-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20 and 15-12.

“I had a really good feeling going into it,” said head coach Susan Rindlaub. “I really felt like we had a chance.” She said the two times before when Mercer Island played Mount Si, she felt the team hadn’t been able to play to their full potential, but because the Islanders came out calm and focused on Saturday night, they were able to bounce back from an early two-game deficit.

“In the first game, we came out and play really tentatively, almost hoping they would make mistakes,” said Rindlaub. By the third match when the Islanders found their groove, Rindlaub said they were on fire, and their enthusiasm helped earn them points while the Wildcats offense started making mistakes.

Former head coach Dino Annest said it was an awesome match, and that by game five many of the rallies were going back and forth over the net up to six times.

During the game, Kaylia Balinbin had 11 kills and eight digs, Ariel Dewey recorded six aces and 36 assists, Renee Chiang had 16 digs, Alisa Owens had five aces, Sabrina Rasmussen had five kills and Lorial Yeadon recorded 11 kills and 12 digs.

The KingCo volleyball tournament is six years old and Mercer Island and Issaquah remain as the only two names listed on the trophy.

“It was a big goal for the girls to keep the trophy here for another year,” said Annest.

Starting tomorrow, the Islanders will travel to Sammamish High School again for the Sea-King district tournament to determine who gets the chance to play at state. The Islanders’ first game of the tournament will be on Thursday evening, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Rindlaub said she expects the teams at districts to be taller, with a lot of offensive power.

“We’re going to have to work on hitting around the blocks. It will be tough and all the games will be close,” she said. “The rest of the games are going to be a challenge, but after beating Mount Si, it was a huge confidence boost for the girls.”

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