Skyline Spartans volleyteam team spikes another foe, stays unbeaten

October 9, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

Molly Mounsey (left), Skyline High School junior middle blocker, and Halle Erdahl, senior outside hitter, go up to hit back a volley by Inglemoor junior Julia Howard for a point during the second set. By Greg Farrar

In the middle of the third game of the Oct. 2 volleyball match, Skyline High School’s Molly Mounsey came from behind the middle and outside hitters to drive a set from Meghan Wedeking straight past Inglemoor’s blockers.

“It’s not the traditional one,” said Mounsey, who was beaming afterward about her perfectly executed attack. “It’s not something the blockers on the other team expect us to do, so it can be more successful.”

That kill by 6-foot, 1-inch Mounsey was one of many successful three-touch plays that led the Skyline Spartans to secure the win against the Inglemoor Vikings within the first three games.

“We are a tall team,” coach Callie Wesson said.

Seven of Skyline’s players are between the height of 5 feet 10-inches and 6 feet 2-inches. Inglemoor has three.

“We have a lot of hitting options, blocking options — being able to use that height to our advantage is our biggest asset,” Wesson said.

The Vikings struggled to gain control in the first game and sent several freeballs over the net. And the Spartans capitalized on the soft returns, transitioning into place to carry out various plays. With point after point going up on the scoreboard for Skyline, the deficit between the two teams continued to grow until it reached a victorious 25-13.

“They know what needs to happen when you get certain balls, like freeballs,” Wesson said, who added she was impressed that the plays the team runs in practice came automatic during the match. “It’s nice to see that they are learning in practice … We want to serve tough at everybody and definitely pass well, because once we do that we can run all of our hitting options.”

The Spartans started the second game off with a scoring run, rolling out seven straight points that included an ace by server Katy Valencia. The sophomore at Skyline kept the run going during one rally when she dove on the floor for a save. With the assistance of senior Kennedy Stoat, the ball was kept alive and the play continued.

The Vikings attempted a comeback later in the game when Skyline sent over a few sloppy freeballs. But a kill here and a kill there was not enough to catch the Spartans, who quickly refocused and won the game, 25-14.

“A lot of us are just focusing on a positive mentality,” senior outside hitter and team captain Halle Erdahl said, adding that one of the challenges is keeping the energy up even when there is not a big threat on the other side of the net.

Talking and cheering throughout helps, she said, but the team also visualizes before the match.

“We just visualize ourselves making an amazing kill, getting a good pass on receive, defensive plays — things like that,” she said.

Inglewood got off to a stronger start in the third game by putting the first two points on the board. The two opponents went back and forth after that, tying the score several times until they reached 7-6.

Skyline tied it up with a sideout and libero Emily Anne Owen stepped up to serve. The serve of the 5-feet, 4-inch junior beelined over the net. Kate Richardson, a freshman at Skyline, helped her team pull ahead with a 2-point lead with a tip and a kill block on the next play. Then, with a kill by Erdahl the Spartans were ahead, 10-7.

Skyline ran with the lead all the way to a 25-11 win that was finished off by a kill by sophomore outside hitter Chloe Epker.

“The girls played well today. We’ve been struggling with Monday games,” Wesson said. So to get the players ready for competition after the weekend, she held a short practice after school that day. “This was our first time doing it, testing it out, and I like it a lot … It got them in the volleyball frame of mind earlier rather than later.”

When it was all said and done, senior Emily Harris had five aces to her name, Erdahl made 11 kills, and Mounsey and Crystal Anderson both had nine kills. Mounsey and Anderson, who is 6 feet 2 inches, also worked well at the net, blocking several of Inglemoor’s hits. Setter Valencia made 18 assists.

The victory over Inglemoor brought Skyline’s season record to 4-1-0. The Spartans are set to take on Garfield at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in a home match.

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