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Arlington volleyball falls in five set match
Playing their last league match of the season the Arlington girls volleyball team wanted to go out on a high note.
The team has undergone a huge overhaul this year and has suffered through a losing season. Yet they came out with a sense of purpose against Cascade on Oct. 25 and gave the visiting Bruins all they could handle. In the end, Cascades experience in tight situations prevailed and Arlington lost in heartbreaking fashion 25-12, 13-25, 25-27, 25-22, 15-17.
In game one the Eagles jumped all over the Bruins behind the play of Kyra Prause. Prause tallied a block and kill on one sequence early on to give Arlington a 5-1 lead. She slammed home another winner to push the edge to 7-1. Breanna Covey followed up with an ace to reach 8-1. Arlington ran away with things behind two kills and a power block from Casey Swinney. Swinneys play at the net propelled Arlington up to a 23-12 advantage and the Eagles held on for an easy victory.
Arlington found the going much tougher in the second set. A Sheena Apolista dig led to an Eagle point to make the score 2-2 but the Eagles fell behind at that point. An excellent cross-court kill from Ryanne Mueller made the score 7-12. Mueller followed it up with an ace, but Cascade began to slowly pull away. A Kelsey Czban tip kill made the score 9-17 and sparked a mini-rally by the Eagles. Covey landed a big kill then Prause made a solo block at the net to make the score 11-18. But that was as close as the Eagles would get as Cascade got a 25-13 win.
In game three the intensity on both sides began to mount. Covey and Swinney staked Arlington to an early lead on consecutive kills. A solo block from Prause made it a 5-1 advantage. But Cascade clawed their way back and trailed 9-8. Allison Taylor scored a point on a deep kill inside the back line to bump Arlington back up 10-8 and the teams continued to battle back and forth all the way to 17-17. The score stayed close the rest of the way. A Taylor kill made it 20-20 and a great dig from Athena Galdonez sparked Arlington to knot the score again at 23-23. With critical points ahead, Arlington turned to Covey who delivered a slam kill in the middle for a 24-23 lead.
The Eagles had a chance to close out the match and after an incredible rally that saw the ball go back and forth over the net 13 times Cascade saved their game with a kill to tie the score. A block from Covey gave Arlington the edge again 25-24, but it wasnt enough as Cascade again answered to tie the game. The Bruins then got a bit of luck as a miraculous dig cleared the net and found a hole in the Eagle defense. Cascade closed out the set on the next point to win 27-25.
Game four again made for great drama as the two well-matched teams slugged it out. Arlingtons service game did well for the team as they got aces from Czban, Covey, and Swinney to lead 7-5. A Mueller kill made the score 10-7 Eagles. Covey did some damage of her own at the net on the way to a 15-13 lead. With the score 21-19 Mueller put down a monster kill from the left side for an important winner. Swinney followed it on the next point with a deep shot that eluded the Bruin defense for a commanding 23-19 advantage. The Eagles held on to win 25-22 and force a deciding fifth set.
The fifth set reached a new level of intensity as Arlington was looking for their first win of the year. Covey got a great set from Czban to start things off with a kill and a 1-0 lead. Arlington jumped ahead 3-0 before surrendering five consecutive points. Then Mueller took over the offense. She brought the team into a 7-7 tie with one kill, then made up two points when the Eagles trailed 7-9. The game stayed close the whole way and Covey put Arlington up 14-13 with a critical ace. It was Arlingtons first match point of the season, and after an amazing rally replete with diving digs from both sides and tough net play, Cascade managed to win the point and tie the score 14-14. The teams traded points to make it 15-15 and then Cascade made the plays necessary to eke out a 17-15 victory.
It was a well played match on both sides, extremely entertaining, but sad to see Arlington come out on the short end again.
I told the girls not to hang their heads, said Coach Cari Britt. They played their hearts out, but our inexperience in tight situations showed tonight.
In her first year at Arlington, Britt took a disjointed and stagnant program and made it much more competitive. The work that remains will be for the girls to get off-season experience in a competitive club setting.
We really need to get the girls to play club, said Britt. Last year only five or so of the 36 girls were on club teams. That percentage needs to change. The one thing about club is that it can be expensive, but its a huge benefit to get that added time on the court.
It remains to be seen if Britt can encourage the youth programs enough to make a major impact on the school team. But in her first year as a head coach major progress is being made.