The undefeated streak appeared to be in jeopardy for the Bellevue Wolverines volleyball team in its matchup against the Mercer Island Islanders.
Mercer Island won two of the first three games, building a 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately for the Islanders, the lead didn’t hold up.
The Wolverines won the fourth and fifth set earning a comeback 3-2 (25-27, 25-10, 22-25, 25-14, 15-10) victory against the Islanders in front of a raucous home crowd on Oct. 2 in Bellevue. Bellevue improved its overall record to 9-0 with the win while Mercer Island dropped to 4-5 with the loss.
Mercer Island had Bellevue on the ropes but couldn’t get the match-clinching win in the fourth and fifth games.
“I am actually a little disappointed. Our team tends to relax when they think they have it in the bag. We won the first game, relaxed the second, won the third game, relaxed the fourth game. I was a little frustrated today with the relaxing,” Mercer Island head coach Samantha Marziello said.
Despite the defeat, the Islanders still pushed the undefeated Wolverines to the brink of defeat for the first time during the 2018 season.
“Going forward, I still have high hopes for this team. We still want to win state (tournament),” Marziello said. “You could see today that we can compete with anybody. I think once we find our rhythm and find our confidence, we are going to be unstoppable. We are getting there. It has been constant improvement every day.”
Wolverines head coach Jamie Tingelstad was thrilled to see her squad conquer its biggest rival.
“We’ve got such a big rivalry with MI (Mercer Island). To be able to do that (comeback win) against our rival makes it so much better and so much more fun,” Tingelstad said.
Bellevue players Naomi Chen-Mallouk and Julia Bray made consistent clutch points in the comeback win against the Islanders to keep their undefeated streak alive and well.
“They have so much energy. They are such students of the game and they’re always wondering what more they can do or what they can change to get better. They just want to be successful,” Tingelstad said of the dynamic duo.