Sports

Lakewood honors seniors in final volleyball match

LAKEWOOD — Lakewood volleyball’s Senior Night against the Cascade Conference rival Coupeville Wolves on Oct. 25 was the last time that three beloved Cougar seniors would take the court in Lakewood uniforms.

A 3-0 defeat was meaningless because Lakewood’s senior send-off celebration after the match meant so much more.

Outside hitters Brittany Parmantier, Kaylee Diggs and outside hitter/setter Gabby Small received flowers from the coaches, ovations from the fans and hand-crafted speeches bearing testimony to what spectacular friends, leaders and role models they had been to Lakewood’s younger players. The trio wore special senior t-shirts signed and designed by admiring teammates before and after the match.

“I’m going to miss my teammates most,” Diggs, a four-year starter, said after the ceremony. “We’re not like a normal team — we get along much, much better.”

“I’ll miss how much fun we had through the good and bad times,” Parmantier said as friends approached her with boxes of chocolate chip cookies. “There are no long-term grudges on this team.”

“I’ll remember how much of a family this team was, and singing really badly on the bus,” Small said of a Lakewood tournament trip to Yakima.

“Gabby is the organizer — she takes care of everything behind the scenes. Kaylee is the on-the-floor leader and our rock. She’s calm, consistent and the floor leader. We’ll miss Brittany’s hitting and blocking skills — she’s an offensive threat and she has a personal relationship with every player. I had to make all three captains because of their leadership,” Lakewood coach Tasha Kryger said of her graduates.

The Cougars opened game 1 with a 3-1 advantage before the Wolves countered with three straight points for a 4-3 advantage. Coupeville launched an 8-4 attack to lead 12-7 before Kryger called timeout to stop the bleeding. The Wolves continued to a 22-14 lead, but Lakewood took a 4-1 run to pull within five at 23-18 and forced Coupeville to burn a timeout. The Wolves recovered and closed the game, however, 25-18.

Coupeville’s libero was their safety net, saving every ball that threatened to hit her side of the floor. The Wolves communicated well and cut out their pursuits of Lakewood volleys that sailed out of bounds. Lakewood failed too many saves and struggled to keep the ball off of their end of the floor.

The Cougars retaliated with a 6-0 flurry to start game 2 and forced the Wolves to take a timeout, trailing 8-2. Coupeville cruised back with a 10-4 run to pull even at 12-12 and later took a 17-14 lead before Lakewood called timeout to readjust once again. The Cougars fought to a 22-17 deficit before calling yet another timeout to keep within striking distance, but the Wolves executed too well and won game 2, 25-19.

Coupeville continued their excellence early in game 3 and jumped out to a 9-4 advantage off of Lakewood’s slow reaction times as shots headed for the floor, but Lakewood suddenly found new life to stay within four points at 20-16 before a Cougar timeout. Trailing 24-16, Lakewood went on a four-point run to whip the crowd into a comeback frenzy and pull to within four at 24-20, but the Wolves earned a quick 25th point to cut out the nonsense and win the match, 3-0.

Parmentier led Lakewood’s offense with 12 kills, Diggs sparked the defense with 11 digs and three aces. Sophomore setter Kendall O’Kinsella fed the Cougar attack with 14 assists.

 

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