It was a long match but a short story. The Woodinville Falcons, playing in their first playoffs in seven years, led Bothell 2-1 with surging momentum. But that lead evaporated in a flurry of unforced errors as the Falcons fell 3-2 in their Kingco 4A tourney match last Saturday.
“It slipped away from us,” Woodinville’s Hailey Smith said. “Simple mistakes brought us down into this loss.”
From the outset, however, it felt like the Falcons were going to burst out with a big day. In the opening set, Cate Quilantang had a couple of magnificent smashes, and the Falcons won 25-23.
After dropping the second set, Woodinville caught a wave of momentum in the third set. Emma Daoud-Hebert delivered her trademark smashes. Grace Becker made a couple of nice shots. Cora Lundquist sacrificed herself by diving to the floor to save a point.
The small contingent of Woodinville fans were quite vocal. With the Falcons leading 20-19, a woman’s voice called out, “YOU GOT THIS LADIES!”
“It’s always a lot of fun having anyone there supporting us,” Smith said. “It means the world to know they’re out there calling out the refs or [rooting] for us.”
Woodinville went on to win that third set, 26-24. The Falcon bench was a scene of pure jubilation. Here was Woodinville, in their first postseason tourney in seven years, on the verge of victory.
But with the coming of the fourth set, things changed in a hurry. Bothell jumped out to a big lead and won 25-21. The match went to the fifth and final set, and the Cougars cruised to a 15-8 win. Bothell took the match 3-2.
“We played much better today than we have in a couple weeks, in terms of our desire to compete,” Woodinville coach Andrea Roelen said. “And also in terms of some seniors making clutch points in pressure situations when we needed it. But ultimately we’re making too many mistakes to beat a team [in the playoffs]. It came down to errors. We missed 17 serves in the match, and that hurts. You’re giving easy points to an opponent. So yes, we’re competing and more energetic and motivated -- and yet we’re giving away points.”
Woodinville will now play Redmond this Tuesday at 4PM at Bothell High School. The winner lives to play another day. The losing team sees their season come to an end.
Coach Roelen said her team is still learning about believing in itself and maintaining grace under pressure.
“Of course, we all wanted that win today,” Roelen said. “But we get another shot, we are in the playoffs. We’ve earned it for the first time in seven years. So okay! We got to get back to work.
“And I love my crew,” Roelen added. “I’ll be with my crew every day of the week and ten times on Sunday. I believe in what we’re doing and we have another shot on Tuesday. It’s called never give up!”
“We have a lot of fight in us,” Hailey Smith said. “It hasn’t fully come out yet. We’ve been holding it in. And I think that we’re going to let it out on Tuesday night.”