Mercer Island swept by Blanchet in district final
By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter
The district championship match between Blanchet and Mercer Island pit two of the best teams in the state against one another.
And while the 3-0 victory gave the Braves a district title, the loss gave the Islanders a sense of mortality, regret and something to prove this weekend at state.
“We didn’t play up to our potential,” said Islander Liz Miller. “If we play our best, we can win state.”
Mercer Island will get a chance to prove that in Kennewick, Wash. as they take the No. 2 seed from the 3A Sea-King district tournament.
The Islanders earned that No. 2 seed with two dominating victories despite admittedly not playing their best.
Mercer Island opened the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Issaquah. The Eagles pushed the Islanders to the limit during the first game, but the play of Carrie Williams and her 11 kills for the match allowed her team to pull out the 25-23 victory. The Islanders took it to Issaquah during the second game, winning 25-16 and closed out the match 25-22 during the third and final game.
“We played pretty bad against Issaquah,” said Islander Amanda Nield. “We had bad communication.”
The semifinal match pit Mercer Island against one of the hottest teams in the post-season tournament — Mount Si. The Islanders squeeked past the Wildcats 27-25 during the first game but dropped the second game 25-20. Sensing the momentum shift, the Islanders got back together and won the final two games, 25-21 and 25-19 to advance to the finals.
“They came out strong but we got it together at the end,” said Nield.
Mercer Island never got on track during the finals. The Islanders gained a slim 9-8 lead during the first game on a Miller ace, but fell behind 17-14 and never regained the momentum, losing 25-18.
Mercer Island never held a lead during the second game, despite being within one point six times, eventually losing 25-23.
“It is hard to lose when you are undefeated,” said Mercer Island head coach Dino Annest.
The final game saw the Islanders take a 20-16 lead only to give up nine of the next 11 points and lose 25-22.
The loss was the first all year, bringing their overall record to 19-1.