Spikers drain Lakes with straight flush

"The Bainbridge High School volleyball team has been a squad of strong starts and fantastic finishes.What happens in between, however, has been a source of worry for the Spartans - and a source of strength for scouting opponents.Nowhere was that more evident than in Bainbridge's straight-set, 15-6, 15-10, 15-10 victory in a sub-district playoff qualifying match at Lakes of Tacoma Tuesday night.On the one hand, you don't want to quibble too much with a few soft spots in the midst of a sweep. On the other hand, the deeper the Spartans go into the West Central District playoffs - starting today with early afternoon contests against Washington and Fife at Fife - you can argue that better teams will better exploit those soft spots.I think they were expecting more of a battle, mentally, and they let down a bit, Bainbridge coach Julie Miller said of her team. But they've proven they can play well, and I think the season has shown that the better the competition, the better these girls play.There were flashes of that last on Tuesday against the Lancers. The Spartans, behind solid serving from Carlie Miller and Kristina Purdom, stormed to a 9-0 lead in the first game. But Bainbridge, setting a precdent for the rest of the match, let Lakes - the Pierce County League's fifth seed - chip away to pick up four of the next five points. The lead was never seriously threatened, however, and Kristina Purdom's kill off a Miller set finished the game.The same could not be said of the next two games.Again, the Spartans sprinted to a lead - this time, 8-1-, completed by a service ace by Michelle Purdom. Shortly after, however, Bainbridge slipped into a stretch in which it could only convert three of 12 serves for points, allowing a 9-3 advantage to slip away to a slim 12-10 edge.Fortunately, with Miller serving, the Lancers made three bad hits in a row, staking the Spartans to a 2-0 lead.Bainbridge again swept to an early lead, 4-0 this time, and stretched it to 6-2 before the roof nearly fell in on them.After getting a kill block to take back the serve, Lakes got three kills, sandwiched around an uncharacteristic miscommunication between Michelle Purdom and Sarah Frazee for a dropped ball between them, to knot the score at 6-6.Purdom atoned, however, spiking the ball on Lakes' next serve for a sideout before serving up two straight points to give Bainbridge a badly needed but short-lived 8-6 edge.The Spartans hit another soft stretch, however, converting just two of their next nine serves and allowing Lakes to climb back to a 10-10 tie.Fortunately, Lakes' inferior skills bailed Bainbridge once more. Kristina Purdom's slam gave the Spartans the sideout, and the Lancers made errors on each of the next five services by Miller and Stephanie Hope to close out the contest.We didn't know a whole lot about them going in, and weren't prepared for how solid and quick they were, Lakes coach Aaron McIntosh said. We made some good runs but we didn't have the consistency of effort we needed to play a team that good.JV poloists show well at state joustBainbridge High School's two junior varsity boys' water polo club teams posted strong finishes at last Sunday's junior varsity tournament.The gold team, coached by Mead Trick, finished third in the 12-team field, while Cooper Rooks' white team placed ninth.The gold team won two of three games - and just missed a chance to play for the championship in an 8-7 overtime loss to top-seeded Mercer Island.The squad, which opened with a 9-1 win over Newport, closed the day with a 6-1 triumph over Auburn.The whole team played great defense, with everybody contributing several steals, Trick said.For the day, hole-set Alex Morris recorded five goals, while Pete Wagner registered a team-high six. Brad Tuffley contributed four goals and six steals, and Trick cited the standout play of Russell Carroll, T.J. Bell, Seth Bailey and keeper Jacob Whitmore.The white team won one game in the tourney to close a .500 season under first-year coach Rooks, a 2000 BHS graduate and former blue-team star.The blue team opened state tournament play the King County Aquatic Center last night with a game against Sammamish, last year's state champion. Team Ray follows with a 10 a.m. contest today against Wilson.The rest of the championship slate will be determined by the outcomes of those contests, coach Jeff Clark said. The title game, should Bainbridge make it that far, is slated for 8 p.m.Pee Wees open postseason todayFour of the Bainbridge Pee Wees Association's five youth football teams will open their county league playoffs today.The A team, led by Walt Hannon, will try to build on a 3-4 season record with a win today against first-place Silverdale at Strawberry Hill Park.The fourth-place team, made up of many of the players who won last year's B league championship, have struggled against larger-sized opponents this year.We'll have everybody healthy for Saturday, and I think we'll give them a good run, Hannon said.The game is set for 2:30 p.m.The B Gold team, coached by Dean Perlatti, will try to build on a successful 5-1 campaign against South Kitsap in a 10 a.m. contest at Bremerton Junior High.Bainbridge, in second place, defeated SK earlier in the season, 13-7, without the benefit of an offensive score.The Blue B team, formed when the number of kids turning out in that age/weight class was too high for the usual single squad, just missed the playoff cut with a 3-3 mark. If not for some scheduling quirks this season, the Blues would likely have been the league's fourth and final seed to the postseason tournament.I don't want them to be overlooked, Perlatti said. One would not have gotten there without the other.The first-place C team, coached by Bryan Gilbreath and Wayne Houston, plays fourth-place Silverdale in Chico at 11:30. And the D squad, led by Mark Sutton and Ken Wakazura, also takes first-place status into its 10 a.m. playoff against North Kitsap at Silverdale's Ross Field.The Bainbridge teams that win will advance to next Saturday's daylong championship series at Bremerton's Memorial Stadium. Games begin at 10 a.m. "

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