Absolute madness: A back-and-forth volleyball battle with emotions unhinged, blistering kills, ground-scraping digs and plenty of screams from both sides.
In the anticipated rematch between 4A KingCo rivals, North Creek defeated Issaquah, 3-1, on Tuesday night to claim the league tournament championship at Bothell High. North Creek went up 25-21 and 25-20 before Issaquah rebounded with its back to the wall with a 25-21 third-game win before the Jaguars put the match away, 25-22, in the fourth.
Earlier this month, Issaquah beat North Creek, 3-0, in league play and won the regular-season title. Now the two teams — which both notched 8-1 league records — are headed to the Wes-King District playoffs this weekend with high hopes of reaching the state tournament.
North Creek head coach Richard Abiador credited Issaquah for bringing a solid game to the court.
Zoe Hennings led Issaquah (15-2 overall) with 14 kills and Liz Gorski tallied 11; Abby May and Hailey White had 14 digs each; and Sadie Bacon had five blocks.
Bacon laughed when she noted that a ton of adrenaline was still pumping in her veins after the match.
“Physically, I’m not feeling it right now, but I probably will later, but I’m not drained quite yet,” she said.
Team chemistry is key for Issaquah, and Bacon added that everybody supports each other on the team. She had fun on the court even though her squad took second place.
“We came back and won a set from two sets back. We just said, ‘Go out and have fun,’ that is what our team is, being loud and just having fun and playing the sport that we love and just going hard,” Bacon said.
Issaquah head coach Amanda Sewell, who was named the 4A KingCo Russ Kerwin Coach of the Year, said she’s enjoying the rivalry with second-year school North Creek. She added that the Jaguars are a strong squad and it’s a healthy competition between the schools.
“We beat ‘em in league, they beat us in KingCo, so hopefully we’ll return the favor come districts,” Sewell said with a smile.
While watching her Eagles in action, she’s reminded of her high school playing days that evoke fond memories. Her intensity level rises when the games are close, she said.
“We’ve beat everybody in three sets all year long and two days ago was our first five-game match and then this was our first four-game match, and so I always tell them they age me 50 years whenever we go more than three matches,” she said.
For North Creek (17-1 overall), league most valuable player Gabby Kepley amassed a stunning 40 kills, followed by Allison Wilks with 10. In the dig department for the Jaguars, Alisa Kim had 29, Korynne Leon had 15 and Jenna Howard had 14.
On the all-league list, Issaquah’s Gorski and Sidney Cottrell are first-teamers; May is a second-teamer; and Bacon and Claire Hyun are honorable mentions.