By Quint Turner
It took five sets, but the Mavericks eventually snatched an important conference win against the Mountlake Terrace Hawks in Mountlake Terrace. After taking a 1-0 lead in the total match score with a game one win, the Mavericks dropped the next two before being able to come back with two set wins of their own to take the match.
The match started with the two teams trading faults on the serve, and then Meadowdale took a lead they didn’t relent when Carly Reece earned an ace to make it 3-2 MHS. Soon after, Madison Norton’s kill that skipped off the net and on the Hawks side gave the Mavs a 5-3 lead. Three straight serves by Gabrielle Mahler that Terrace couldn’t return made it 8-3 Meadowdale.
The 7-1 Maverick run ended after an error, but it was 11-4 at that point in the match. Reece continued to put pressure on the Hawks when her kill went crosscourt and was too hot to handle, making it 13-7 Meadowdale. Terrace tried to come back as Madison Eich smashed a kill right between the Maverick blockers to bring the score to 16-10 Mavs. But the momentum was essentially killed when the Mavericks won a long rally off a Kayla Cummings kill that was set up by Tara Fishback, and the Mavs were up 21-13. They would eventually win the set 25-17 after Kelly Moya made a heads-up play and knocked down a weak return between the Hawks players.
The Mavs started out with a quick 6-3 lead after an amazing crosscourt kill by Norton, but the Hawks came back to tie the set score at 8 when Reece’s kill just missed the endline and was called out. The Mavs then had an 8-1 run to go up 16-9 in the set, thanks to kills that just stayed in, and miscues by the Hawks. The Hawks called timeout after the Mavs went up 16-9, and the next point, they turned it around with a Meg Roberts kill that just touched the endline.
The Hawks used that newly found momentum to not only tie the game at 17, but to go ahead by three after Justine Kelly killed the ball right between the Maverick blockers. The 11-1 Hawks run was ended by a Cummings kill that touched the backline, and the Mavericks tied the game at 20 two points later. The teams went back and forth for the next eight points, but the Hawks won the set 25-23 when Sarah Pung hit a rocket of a kill that bounced off the Maverick blockers and went out of bounds. The sets were tied at one as the teams went to the third set.
The third set started with a bang when Eich hit a kill right between the entire Maverick team to get the Hawks up 3-1. From there, it looked like the Hawks had control of the set. Kelly earned a point when her kill just barely hit the endline, making it an early 7-2 lead for the Hawks. The Mavs started to fight back though, getting the score to just an 11-9 deficit before Roberts killed a weak Maverick return to show the Terrace power. Sloane Morrison blocked a Kelly kill to get the Mavs to a 14-10 score, but Casey Hynes responded with a meteor kill to make it 17-13 Hawks.
The real back-breaker of the set came after a long rally, when Eich surprised the Mavs and tipped the ball between the Maverick defenders to make it 18-14. The Hawks eventually took the set by a score of 25-19 when a Norton serve went wide. The Hawks took a 2-1 set lead into the fourth, and were looking to end the match.
But the Mavs had other plans. Cummings hit a bullet of a kill just down the line and in to tie the set score at 2. The Mavs would not relinquish the lead in the set after a kill by Norton went between the Hawk blockers to give the Mavs an 8-7 lead. That started a 6-0 run for the Mavericks, in which Fishback perfectly set up a Morrison kill and the run only ended after Amy Rickel missed a serve.
However, that didn’t matter, as the Mavs weren’t going to stop. The two teams traded two points and the score was 14-10; then the Mavs went on another 6-0 run to put the set out of reach. It started with an unreturnable kill by Cummings to stretch the score to 15-10, and then Morrison killed a weak return to make it 16-10, and it was 20-10 before the Hawks knew what hit them. Hynes tried to start a comeback in the set when she hit a great kill down the line and past Maverick defenders to make it 20-11. But the Mavericks eventually closed out the set by a score of 25-18 when a Cummings kill bounced off the blockers and out. The match would have to be decided in a 5th set.
After the first two points were split between the teams, the Mavs went on a 5-0 run, and in a set to 15, a 5-0 run is a killer. Speaking of kills, it started when Morrison hit the ball right off the Hawks blockers and out to earn the point. The last point in the run came when a Norton kill just kissed the endline to make it a 6-1 lead. The Hawks tried their best to come back, when Pung smashed a kill between the blockers, but the Mavs got another 3-0 lead to push the set lead to 9-2 in response. The teams traded great kills before Cummings put the team up 12-4, and the Hawks knew it was do-or-die time. They earned four straight points to keep the game close, but the Mavericks eventually closed the game out when Reece hit an unreturnable kill that gave the Mavs the 15-10 set win. The Mavs won the match 3-2.
With the win, the Mavericks improve to 6-2 on the year (2-0 in conference), and play at Shorewood on Thursday at 7 p.m. With the loss, the Hawks fall to 6-2 (0-2 in conference), and play on Thursday at Glacier Peak, also a 7 p.m.
MHS set scores: 25-17, 23-25, 19-25, 25-18, 15-10
Sports correspondent Quint Turner attends Meadowdale High School.