Woodinville High School girls volleyball hosted its senior night celebration before going on to beat Skyline High School in a close matchup on Thursday night, Sept. 30, at home.
Skyline won the first set, 22-25, but Woodinville took the victory by winning the next three sets, 26-24, 25-18 and 28-26.
“It was a great fight and a great crowd. The kids really pulled it off with some stressful moments,” Head Coach Andrea Roelen said. “It just went back and forth with many match points for both teams.”
A few varsity players were out with injuries for the game, she said, so a couple of junior varsity teammates played instead.
Roelen said WHS decided to celebrate the team’s seniors early in case COVID-19 cases or school closures interrupt the remaining season.
The team and coaches honored four Woodinville seniors for their commitment to the volleyball program, she said. The seniors included outside hitter Marissa Till, libero Sydney Muff, middle blocker Maia Riseland and outside hitter Ali Henley.
During the match on Sept. 30, Jaecy Eggers recorded six blocks and four kills. Olivia Roelen notched five service aces, three blocks and two kills. Till contributed four kills, two service aces and 17 digs. And Muff added another 10 digs.
Woodinville started the season with a 3-2 loss against Meadowdale High School on Sept. 7. Following their defeat, WHS shutout Lake Washington High School in a 3-0 win on Sept. 9.
More recently, Woodinville lost 1-3 to Kamiak High School during an away game on Sept. 16. The Lady Falcons also fell 0-3 to North Creek High School on the road Sept. 21.
“The first month of the season is always about getting to know each other, developing chemistry and getting comfortable with who’s standing next to you on the court,” Roelen said.
One of the team’s challenges lies in the mental aspect of the game, she noted. Students are trying to navigate the return of in-person classes, extracurriculars and social interaction after more than a year of remote learning.
“It feels like we've been waiting at the starting line,” she said. “Waiting, waiting, waiting, and now we're sprinting.”
On the flipside, she said, Woodinville students showed excitement as the season started. She compared the feeling to Christmas Eve.
Over the summer, the volleyball staff worked on professional development, which included implementing a “VHRB team culture,” she said. The acronym stands for valued, heard, respected and belonging, Roelen added.
“These are the essential traits that any human being wants to feel,” she said. “That’s one of our program goals this year, is to help kids feel that they are creating that VHRB environment.”
More than 60 students came out for volleyball, making it one of the most competitive tryouts Roelen has witnessed in the last five years as head coach, she said.
“Tryouts [were] really tough because we [had] to make cuts,” Roelen said.
The Lady Falcons are a blend of returners and new players, she said. Woodinville is made up of six players who are 5 feet and 11 inches tall or more, she said.
“We're big. We're tall,” she said. “It’s going to come down to whether we can consistently pass and serve well.”
Three senior varsity players graduated in the spring, Roelen said, including the starting setter and two starting middle blockers.
“We have some of the most talented freshmen and sophomore classes that we’ve had since I took over the program,” Roelen said. “We are solid on all three levels.”
As the Lady Falcons look ahead, they will face Eastlake High School for a home match on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.
“I'm really excited about what we might be able to do this year,” Roelen said. “We have a ton of talent… We have an exciting young crew of new players that show amazing potential.”
WHS Volleyball Schedule:
- Tuesday, Oct. 12 – Eastlake High School (away), 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 14 – Bothell High School (away), 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 19 – Mount Si High School (away), 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 21 – North Creek High School @ WHS, 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 26 – Inglemoor High School (away), 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 28 – Redmond High School (away), 7 p.m.