Islanders can't find groove against Holy Names; move into consolation bracket

It had been a long journey for the Mercer Island girls volleyball team to earn the top spot heading into the Sea-King district tournament, which started last night. They battled through a season of injuries and sickness, losing to the top KingCo team twice during the regular season before the Islanders were able to knock off Mount Si during the championship game of the KingCo tournament.

After that long awaited victory the Islanders kicked off their district tournament at the No. 1 seed, facing Holy Names Academy, who entered the tournament seeded No. 4 overall. Holy Names beat the Islanders 3-0 with the final scores of 25-13, 25-20 and 30-28.

The Cougars played earlier that same evening, beating Bainbridge 3-1 to advance to the quarterfinals against the Islanders.

In the first game Holy Names quickly found their groove, jumping to a 6-2 lead while the Islanders struggled to settle into their game. Mercer Island had trouble filling the hole behind the blockers before the back line, a spot the Cougars discovered and took advantage of on their way to a 25-13 win in game one.

In game two the Islanders started to fight back, keeping the score closer through the game. After a huge rally half way through Mercer Island closed the score to 15-16 before tying it at 16 points and snatching the lead 17-16. But their first lead of the series was short lived when Holy Names capitalized on a missed Islander hit over the net. Despite their best efforts the Islanders couldn't find the window of opportunity they need to take and hold onto the lead, as they lost game two 25-20.

In game three the Islanders looked the most like a team who stood a chance against Holy Names. Mercer Island started with an early lead, and held onto it for a while as the teams battled back and forth across the net, fighting for every point they put on the board. At one point the Islanders held a five point lead over the Cougars, but were not able to hold on to it as Holy Names carefully surged back up to retake the lead 20-19. From then until the end of the game 10 points later each side fought valiantly, making big saves and even bigger spikes, looking to knock the other team off balance. Holy Names was finally able to make the score swing their way with a 30-28 win.

The Islanders now move into the consolation bracket to take on the Juanita Rebels on Saturday afternoon starting at 1 p.m. at Sammamish High School. If the Islanders win they will play the loser of the Seattle Prep/Mount Si semi-final match. If the Islanders lose the season will be over. The top four teams from the District bracket will advance to the state tournament next weekend in Kennewick, Wash.

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