UPDATE | Spartans get back-to-back wins against two top-ranked titans
By BRIAN KELLY
Bainbridge Island Review Editor
September 30, 2012 · 5:50 PM
The Spartans played Goliath to two giants in Washington state volleyball this week, toppling the top-ranked teams of Eastside Catholic and Holy Names Academy.
Bainbridge beat Eastside Catholic 25-14, 23-25, 25-17, 25-23 Wednesday.
“We tried really hard to stay on task throughout the whole thing,” said Spartan Coach Julie Miller.
The second game was a blip, she said, due to a lot of errors on the Spartan said.
“We weren’t playing all that well,” Miller said.
“I challenged them to prove to themselves that they could get it done in less than five games. Which they did,” she said.
Emma Burgess was big with the digs in the contest, finishing with 15 for the Spartans.
Lauren Sheehan added eight kills, 12 digs and three aces to Bainbridge’s winning effort against the fourth-ranked Crusaders, while Maggie Haskin finished with 29 assists, 12 digs and four aces. Erin Kinney contributed five kills, nine digs and three blocks for Bainbridge.
Any celebration over beating two top-10 teams was short-lived, though.
“It’s like, it’s one game — now it’s on to the next one,” Miller said.
“Everything was: Take down the nets, let’s go home.”
Bainbridge started its week on a roll, after the Spartans rallied from a 2-1 hole to take down top-ranked Holy Names 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 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 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.
Haskin led Bainbridge with 44 assists and 12 digs.
Sheehan added 15 kills and 11 digs for the Spartans.
Burgess added 20 digs for Bainbridge, while 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.Contact Bainbridge Island Review Editor Brian Kelly at email@example.com or 1-206-842-6613.