Wolves survive in 5 sets vs. P.A.

A streak 17 years running - but just barely.

Sequim volleyball continued its 19 match-long winning streak versus their rivals from Port Angeles last week, coming back to beat the Roughriders in five sets in Sequim on Oct. 8.

Down two sets to one, the Wolves hammered P.A. 25-12 in the third set, then overcame some poor serving to win the fifth and final set, 15-9.

"We started slow,"

Sequim coach Jennie Webber said, echoing a sentiment she's voiced several times this season. "I don't know what it is. We, at least, didn't fold."

The Wolves, led by 15 kills each from Caitlin Pallai and Maddy Zbaraschuk, seemed to be their own worst enemies at times during the two-hour-long match, driving the ball far too deep or finding the net on serves.

Pallai, who also led the Wolves with three blocks, said her team may have been a little tense about the rivalry and the streak.

"It's a lot of pressure and it kind of got to people," she said. "It was an intense match."

Port Angeles went up 5-1 in the first set and used a six-point run to extend their lead to 19-11. The Roughriders won the first set, 25-20.

In the second set, Sequim built a 23-17 lead before Port Angeles came back to tie it. Zbaraschuk stuffed the streak with a kill from the back row, and Pallai added the exclamation point for a 25-23 win and tied the match at 1-1.

Sequim looked to have all the momentum in game three, going to Pallai early and often for four kills in an 8-0 streak to open it. But after a P.A. timeout, the Wolves misconnected on the next six points to let the Roughriders back in. The back-and-fourth third set saw seven ties until, at 21-21, Port Angeles took advantage of Sequim miscues for a 25-22 win and 2-1 lead in sets.

Sequim got the momentum back in a big way in set four as Jessica Lauritzen and Zbaraschuk stonewalled several Port Angeles attacks while Taylor Balkan's sharp serving (25-of-25) kept the pressure on. Sequim won 25-12 to knot the match.

In the fifth set, Sequim got big hits from Pallai, Zbaraschuk, Rebekah Kirsch and Sierra Clark to take an 8-5 lead. The teams battled back and forth to 12-9 before a Pallai block and a Zbaraschuk kill gave Sequim match point. A poorly struck Roughrider hit left the ball floating near the net; Kirsch slapped it down for the winner.

"We're close rivals," Clark said after the Sequim-Port Angeles match. "It was stressful, but in a good way."

Webber Heilman said her team needs to work on blocking, a skill that would help the Wolves stop teams with strong hitters.

Pallai said she's encouraged that the Sequim roster is so deep, that anyone can come in and help the team win, particularly against their rivals in green and white. The last time Port Angeles beat Sequim - Oct. 27, 1992 - the majority of the Wolves' roster hadn't been born.

"It's kind of our responsibility as a team," Pallai said, to keep that winning streak going.

Balkan led the Wolves with 22 assists. Zbaraschuk added three aces and Clark was 17-of-17 on serves with six kills.

Kia Jones led Port Angeles with 16 digs, six kills and three aces while Emily Cook added four blocks and 11 kills and Emily Drake finished with 26 assists.

Sequim was scheduled to play at Olympic (Silverdale) on Oct. 13 - results were unavailable at press time. The Wolves are at the Capital City Tournament in Olympia on Oct. 17, followed by their final two road matches of the season: Oct. 20 at Klahowya and Oct. 22 at Kingston.

Wolves unseat Bremerton's Knights

So much for home court advantage.

Sequim got kills from nine different players and recorded 11 aces in a three-set rout (25-19, 25-13, 25-10) of the host Bremerton Knights on Oct. 6.

Balkan had 10 assists and Sara Hankins added seven.

Clark and Lauritzen had four kills each while Kirsch had four aces, three kills and seven digs.

Kyla Martin was a perfect 11-of-11 serving.

Lilly Kimple led the Knights with 24 digs.

In junior varsity action, Stacy Hanson was 12-of-12 serving with five aces, Katelynne McDaniels was 11-of-12 serving with five assists and Marissa Haner added five kills as Sequim topped Bremerton 2-1 (25-6, 25-10, 19-25).

Reach Michael Dashiell at

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