Sports

Spartans stop state's top 3A volleyball team, win in five-game thriller

Members of the Spartan volleyball team — Kyra Easley, Emma Burgess, Laura Sheehan, Tess Haskin, Erin Kinney and Maggie Haskin — celebrate after perservering to a game-two win against top-ranked Holy Names Academy on Monday.  - Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review
Members of the Spartan volleyball team — Kyra Easley, Emma Burgess, Laura Sheehan, Tess Haskin, Erin Kinney and Maggie Haskin — celebrate after perservering to a game-two win against top-ranked Holy Names Academy on Monday.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review

Bainbridge rallied from a 2-1 hole to beat top-ranked Holy Names Academy in girls volleyball at home Monday.

The Spartans beat the Cougars 18-25, 25-20, 11-25, 25-19, 15-6.

The momentum shift came after the third-game loss, which Bainbridge Coach Julie Miller described simply as "bad."

A 25-19 Spartan victory in the fourth helped the team believe they could overcome the scrappy Cougars, currently ranked as the top 3A team in the state by the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association and the Seattle Times.

"The fourth game really was the one that gave them the 'Wow, we really can do that,'" Miller said.

Holy Names, previously unbeaten in league play, seemed unstoppable at the start of the Metro matchup.

But that wasn't a surprise for the Spartans.

"They typically have a good team. They are a pretty disciplined group," Miller said.

The Cougars jumped out to an early 9-6 lead in the first game, and rattled off seven unanswered points before Bainbridge regrouped. Still, the Spartans could pull no closer than five.

In the second game, Bainbridge led 3-1 and weathered three ties before Holy Names took the 15-14 advantage.

The seesaw contest continued, with six ties and lead changes, before Bainbridge took the lead for good at 18-17. At the close of the 25-20 win, the Spartans jumped for joy in a collective on-court huddle as libero Emma Burgess threw both arms triumphantly skyward.

But the second-game win was quickly eclipsed by the Cougars' convincing 25-11 victory in the third.

The Spartans coaching staff, however, told the team not to look too far ahead, and the advice hit home.

"We just kept telling them to calm down and play one point at a time and keep the ball in play, and let them make the mistakes," Miller said.

The Spartans did just that; working more as a team, playing without hesitation, going after the ball.

Bainbridge responded with a 25-19 win in the fourth game to tie it at 2-2.

The Spartans then easily broke the deadlock with a 15-6 win in the fifth.

Maggie Haskin led Bainbridge with 44 assists and 12 digs.

Lauren Sheehan added 15 kills and 11 digs for the Spartans.

Burgess added 20 digs for Bainbridge, while teammate Erin Kinney added four blocks, 17 digs and seven kills.

The big win came after an impressive showing by the Spartans at the Kent Classic Volleyball Tournament on Saturday.

The team split its pool games, but beat fourth-ranked Eastside Catholic and fifth-ranked Mount Si in the semifinals to take the gold in the consolation finals. Overall, the team finished in 16th place out of 36 teams.

"It was a good finish to the day," Miller said.

Now, Bainbridge (4-1 league, 5-2 overall) will again face Eastside Catholic, at home Wednesday. Game time is 6 p.m.

The Crusaders are coming to the island after a 3-1 win against Bishop Blanchet on Monday.

The Spartans won't see the same Eastside Catholic that they beat at the Kent Classic.

"They will be a different team when they come over here because they won't have played all day," Miller said.

Miller said the team will need to pass well and stay disciplined to control the Crusaders.

"Again: Keep that ball in play and wait for them to mess up," she said.

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