Volleyball: Wolves fall short of state

Read a feature story on SHS volleyball star Hannah Hudson here.


Sequim’s season of frustration finishes ended excruciatingly close to the state tournament.


Unfortunately for the Wolves, only one team from this matchup of North Olympic Peninsula teams could advance. Port Angeles rebounded from a pair of losses to Sequim last week to knock off the Wolves in five games in the match for fifth/sixth place at the West Central District tournament in Tacoma on Saturday, ending Sequim’s season.


“Overall we needed a little more consistent hitting,” Sequim coach Jennie Webber Heilman said. “We had pretty good defense and we never really had passing lapses.”


Sequim earned a first-round bye to the tourney but dropped a five-game match to Fife in the quarterfinals Saturday, despite jumping out to a 2-1 lead. The Trojans prevailed

25-16, 19-25, 14-25, 25-22 and 15-11.


Kate Harker led the Wolves with 12 kills while ALyse Armstrong had 10 kills and team highs with 20 assists and three blocks.


“We kind of knew what we had to do (against Fife) but we didn’t start blocking very well,” Webber Heilman said.


The Wolves rebounded to top White River in four games, 25-16, 24-26, 25-22 and 25-20.


“We came out strong,” Webber Heilman said, noting Rylie Roberts’ six-point run to start the match.

Roberts finished 18-of-19 serving. Hannah Hudson paced the defense with 26 digs and was 21-of-22 serving. Katie Stevenson added four aces in her five serves. Harker had 10 kills while Emily Wallner and Alexas Besand had nine each.


“Our team as a whole was playing tough defense,” Webber Heilman said.


On the other side of the consolation bracket, Port Angeles knocked off Franklin Pierce in three games, setting up the teams’ fifth match of the season.


In the end, Port Angeles had just enough to get past their cross-peninsula rivals. Sequim had a 2-1 lead before Port Angeles won game four, 25-20, and ran away with game five, 15-6.


Emma LeBlanc was 17-for-17 serving with four aces while Armstrong and Wallner combined for 40 assists against Port Angeles. Harker had a team-high 10 kills and Hudson added 28 digs to pace the defense.


Learning from the loss

“We’re kind of inexperienced,” Webber Heilman said. “At this level you’ve got to dig in and be focused. They made it to state, we did not — I’m a little frustrated to say the least.”


The Sequim coach noted that in six matches the extended to a full five games this season — one versus Bellingham, one versus Fife and two each against Port Angeles and Olympic League champ North Kitsap — the Wolves fell in each match.


“That has never happened before. (I) guess I will be changing the way we practice,” Webber Heilman said.


Port Angeles advances to the state 2A volleyball tournament, set for Nov. 15-16 at Pierce College in Tacoma.


Washington won the district title, with North Kitsap second, Fife third and Sumner fourth.


Webber Heilman said Harker, a senior, had her best run of the season at districts and that Wallner, a converted setter, had a strong performance as well, along with Hudson and sophomore Sydney Munn.


The Sequim coach said that despite losing four seniors — Besand, Harker, Hudson and Vanessa Martinez — a core group of experienced Wolves are expected back for 2014.


We need to have some leaders out on the court with experience (and) we need to be inspired about playing,” she said.


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