by Corey Wiscomb
Special to the Sounder
The Orcas Island Volleyball team hosted a home playoff game against Providence on Tuesday, Nov. 2. It was a dominant effort by the Vikings which saw the team crush Providence in three straight sets.
All cylinders seemed to be firing for Orcas with an extremely high serve rate, an impressive collection of digs, clean passing, and some jump-out-of-your-seat kills. On one particular play by senior Tayla Malo set a perfect pass to sophomore Bethany Carter for an absolute smash of a kill. The ball came off with such velocity that it knocked the Providence player attempting to dig the hit clean off her feet. Bug-eyed like a deer in headlights, Providence knew they were outmatched.
Orcas then qualified to compete against Grace Academy for a lock-in spot to the State tournament. The Lady Vikings were able to push the match to the fifth set in dramatic fashion but ultimately could not bring home the win. The biggest difference in the outcome of the game was that Grace kept their composure in critical times with seven experienced seniors rotating on the court. Those moments really shifted the momentum. The Vikings made a couple untimely errors that to their dismay, swayed the game.
Coach Rachel Wilson summed it up this way: “Volleyball is a game of momentum and when you give the other team momentum, you put yourself in a tough spot.”
The girls came back focused and hungry for the do-or-die games on Saturday versus rival Mount Vernon Christian. Orcas stayed disciplined in the tight moments and the result was a victory in four games. The prize: yet another do-or-die match versus the Darrington Loggers, with season-ending repercussions on the line, and the winner on to state. Orcas split one win and one loss against the Loggers in the regular season. While the Lady Vikings brought every ounce of passion to the postseason game, they simply could not overcome Darrington in this match.
“For the most part, we had a good defensive game, digging a lot of their big hitters and taking control of their serve. We saw some really nice attacks from our front row, set up by Tayla Malo; but in our overall game, it came down to the timing of our errors and the type of errors made that swayed the momentum and outcome of the game,” Wilson said.
The result would mean a sad conclusion to a season that showed much promise for the future. It’s always heart-breaking to come to the end of a season and still be growing forward, you just don’t want to stop. Sometimes there’s just not enough sand in the hourglass. Coach Wilson carried this burden equally, but rather than wallow she beamed in the accomplishment of her girls this year.
“Overall, there was an unbelievable amount of growth on the team as a whole and individually,” she said. “These girls put in so much time, effort, and discipline in their training while remembering to enjoy the process, each other, and the sport. They have been coming in 5-6 days a week all season for 2-3 hours. That doesn’t even count the time in the summer they put in or in their workouts. Within this group of girls, this is really the first full season for 8 of our 12 varsity players. With 8 of the girls being fairly new to the sport altogether, and they are already competing for a State spot! This doesn’t come by coincidence. The leadership on this team, dedication and discipline are what lead this Viking volleyball team to its ultimate success this season, on and off the court. Through sport, these girls created a place they could consistently count on where they would show up for each other, work hard, grow, and be the best versions of themselves, while facing obstacles and challenges as a team, humbly and together; a season of true success. I know that if they continue on this road, their season’s goal of going to state will come in their future.”