Shorewood captures 3A South Division volleyball title with win over Mavericks

By Quint Turner

The Shorewood Thunderbirds clinched the Wesco South 3A division title with a win over the second-place Meadowdale Mavericks in five sets Monday night. They had to do it on MHS Senior Night as well, with pre-match acknowledgement of seniors Carly Reece, Julianne Kossian, Kelly Moya, and Madison Norton.

This was the second time the T-Birds beat the Mavericks this year, and both wins were in five sets. After the Mavericks grabbed a 2-1 lead in sets, the T-Birds came back taking the last two sets to win the match.

The Mavericks got off to a hot start in the first set, as they took a 5-0 lead. Jessica Gaevert finally got the T-Birds’ first point of the match when her kill hit the backline. That started a Shorewood run that culminated when a Maverick error gave the T-Birds a 6-5 lead in the set. Delaney Hopen added to the lead with a tip that fooled the Maverick team and made it 8-6 Shorewood.

The T-Bird run continued until Stephanie Vollbrecht knocked a kill out of bounds to keep the Mavericks in the set at 10-7. The next serve, Gabrielle Mahler hit an ace, and the set went back and forth from there. Monica Postor was great all game, as she gave Shorewood a 13-11 lead when she hit a bullet of a kill between the MHS blockers. Reece tried to get her team back in the set with a kill, but Ellie Rettenmier knocked the ball right back where it came from to make it 15-11 Thunderbirds.

The Mavs wouldn’t quit. Reece got her revenge when her next kill went between Rettenmier’s arms for a point, and the deficit was only 17-14. They got within 19-18 before Postor hit a crosscourt kill that managed to stay just in bounds, to make it 20-18. Meadowdale persevered. Reece tied the game at 22 with a crosscourt kill of her own. Hopen got the T-Birds one point away from winning the set with a great tip between the Mavs, and the T-Birds were up 24-23. But Tara Fishback gave a perfect set to allow Reece hit a cannonball past the T-Birds’ defense, and the set was tied at 24. Finally, Shorewood won the first set 28-26 when Norton’s kill went into the net, and they took a 1-0 set lead into the second.

The Mavs came out swinging. Reece hit a meteoric kill off the blockers to give a 2-1 MHS lead, but the game was tied at 3 when Reece’s next try was rejected by a jumping Gaevert. The teams continued the tug-of-war match through the set. Rettenmier got the set score to 9-8 MHS with a kill that had too much power to be dug out, but the Mavs responded immediately when Reece hit a kill between two blockers. After that point, Meadowdale went on a 9-1 run to get a chokehold on the set. The last point the Mavs got on the run was when Fishback hit an ace to get a 17-9 lead, but Gaevert doinked a tip between the Mavericks to end the run.

Meadowdale wouldn’t let the T-Birds back in the game though. Kayla Cummins hit a laser down the line to make it 18-11, and Kossian hit a kill of her own that rocked the T-Birds and gave the Mavs a 22-14 set lead. The Mavs finally closed out the set when Gaevert missed a kill into the net, and Meadowdale won the set 25-17. The set score was tied at 1 going into the third.

The third set was another close one, but this time, the Mavericks were the ones to finish the job. Cummins started the set off right when she spiked a weak return from the T-Birds to give Meadowdale a 1-0 lead. The T-Birds tied the game at 3 when Stephanie Vollbrecht hit a kill with heavy topspin that was too much for the Mavs to handle. Meadowdale got a very small 4-1 run to get some distance between the teams. Kossian hit a kill off the net and in to give the Mavs a 9-7 lead and Sloane Morrison smacked down a weak return to make it 11-8.

After a great crosscourt kill by Vollbrecht shortened the lead to 11-9, Mahler restored the lead to 3 with a pinpoint kill off the backline. The T-Birds tied the game up at 13 and Postor hit a kill to try and get the lead, but Cummins and Mahler teamed up to reject the kill to give the Mavs a one point lead. Cummins sent another statement when she hit a killer spike that bounced off of Postor’s face to make it 16-14 MHS, but Postor stayed in the game. Shorewood tied the game at 19 when Hopen hit a kill with so much power it bounced off the MHS blockers and out of reach of the other Mavericks. Morrison responded right away with a spike that bounced between the entire Shorewood team to give the Mavs a 20-19 lead.

The set score went back and forth from there, as it became a battle of wills. When Postor got a tip between the Maverick team to make it 24-23, Reece responded right away with a crosscourt kill that was unreturnable. Reece gave Meadowdale a 27-26 lead in the set with a kill right through the T-Birds blockers, and Morrison won the set with a kill off the net and in. The Mavs won the set by a score of 28-26, and went into the fourth with a 2-1 set lead.

Shorewood came in to the fourth set with a mission: Win the fourth set at all costs. They took an early 2-0 lead after a Postor ace, and didn’t look back. Rettenmier made it 5-2 with a great crosscourt kill that bounced right on the sideline. The Mavs came back to within one at 7-6, but Jane Tarabochia put a stop to any comebacks with a great tip between everyone. Postor continued to add to the lead with a rocket of a kill down the line to make it 10-7. The Mavs once again got within one point in the set when Morrison rejected a kill from Hopen to make it 10-9, T-Birds.

But Shorewood did not relent. Hopen got her revenge with a kill between the blockers to make it 14-12, and Tarabochia made it 16-13 when she blocked a Mahler kill. That was followed by a Rettenmier ace, and then another kill by Tarabochia to make it 18-13. Two more aces by Hopen to put the T-Birds up 22-14 ended any chance for an MHS comeback, and Vollbrecht hit a crosscourt kill that stayed in bounds to win the set by a score of 25-19. The match had to go to a fifth set to determine a winner.

Morrison started the set off right with a cannon of a kill that was too much to be returned, and the Mavs went up 1-0. Shorewood went on offense after that, with a 6-0 run. This included an ace by Joely Shepard that went off the net and in, as well as a kill by Hopen that bounced off the blockers to make it 6-1, T-Birds. Morrison hit a comet of a spike to end the run at just 6-0, but Vollbrecht responded with a kill just inside the corner to keep the pressure on. That was followed with yet another ace, this time by Rettenmier to make it 8-3.

Postor punished the Mavs with another amazing kill that went between the blockers to give Shorewood a 10-4 lead and she did it again to make it 12-5 a little bit later. Vollbrecht got Shorewood another ace to make it 13-5 right after, and the T-Birds finally won the set by a score of 15-7 after Postor hit another unreturnable kill. Shorewood won the match by a set score of 3-2.

With the win, the Thunderbirds closed out their season with an 11-3 record (7-1 in conference). They also clinched the Wesco South 3A volleyball title, and will take either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed into the district tournament. The Mavericks fell to 9-4 (5-2 in conference) with the loss, and have one more game left in the season. They play at Glacier Peak on Wednesday to determine who gets second place in the South division.

Set scores: 28-26, 17-25, 26-28, 25-19, 15-7

Sports correspondent Quint Turner is a student at Meadowdale High School.

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