Lakewood spikers build confidence at Meridian tourney

BELLINGHAM — Confidence will be the key to the success of Lakewood volleyball, according to coach Tasha Kryger.

It showed as the girls competed in a varsity tournament at Meridian High, Sept. 13, that included teams as small as their 1A host and as big as 4A state-qualifier Edmonds-Woodway.

In a game already prone to scoring streaks, Lakewood witnessed many through their three pool games and one bracket game, defeating Meridian 25-13, 25-18 in their first pool draw. The breaks went the other way as they faced Seattle-area 4A Roosevelt, who defeated Lakewood 25-11, 25-13.

After a break that Kryger later said she figured was a little too long, Lakewood undertook a comeback against Squalicum that fell just a little bit short. The Storm easily took the first game, knocking off the Cougars 25-12. But despite Squalicum’s 11-3 lead at one point, Lakewood made a big comeback, thanks to a combination of kills by Amanda Gregory, Liliya Kibitskaya and Samantha Adams that helped Lakewood find their confidence.

Adams got a kill to edge Lakewood a little closer in game four, 11-4. The Cougars went on their own scoring streak going 10-2 over the next 12 points to tie up at 13-13. A kill by hitter Amanda Gregory gave Lakewood its first lead against the Storm since they jumped out to 1-0 in the first game.

The game remained close, but Squalicum would go on to narrowly close out game two 25-22, leaving Lakewood behind after a 16-16 tie.

After being seeded into a bracket, Lakewood drew Meridian for what would ultimately be their final game of the day.

The girls lost the first game 25-12, but pushed for a game three with a 25-14 win in the second game. Game three was tied as late as 13-13, but Meridian held on to score the last two points and avenge their loss in pool play.

“I was really happy that we had those really good teams there. I knew we had a solid team,” Kryger said. “Overall, I noticed if we have good passing, we’ll have a good season.”

Kibitskaya had 19 digs, nine kills and five service aces throughout the tournament. Libero Sarah Boe had 35 digs, including a 19-dig performance against Meridian that was close to a school record. Hitter Amanda Gregory recorded 14 kills, setter Peyton Mizell had 32 assists and from the backcourt, Hayley Liebel had five service aces, adding three solo blocks up front.

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