With COVID wiping out any chance for a true postseason, these Wolves had to settle for a one-match crossover against a tough 3A school this past weekend.
Sequim was up to the task, delivering in all facets of the game for a four-set win (25-22, 25-23, 25-20, 24-26) over visiting Central Kitsap on March 20.
“It’s nice that they played their best at the end,” Sequim coach Jennie Webber Heilman said.
Senior Amanda Weller was 27-of-29 serving with a team-high eight aces to go with her six kills.
“We had really good energy,” Weller said. “We worked well as a team.”
Webber Heilman had high praise for the Wolves’ serving, coming up with 13 aces overall and serving 93 percent (92-of-99).
Allie Gale, Jordan Hegtvedt and McKenna Hastings combined to serve 44-of-45.
“In order to be a good passing team you have to serve tough,” Webber Heilman said.
The Sequim coach pointed out stellar serving from senior McKenna Hastings, a change-of-pace server who was 10-of-10 on serves against CK Saturday; Hastings hadn’t missed a serve since Feb. 27, and finished the season with 81 consecutive serves over Sequim’s final seven matches.
Her sophomore sister Kendall Hastings had a team-high 12 kills to finish the season with a team-high 163, and added seven blocks. Senior Jayla Julmist added eight kills in her final match in a Wolves’ uniform.
Gale (17 digs) and Hegtvedt (15) led Sequim’s defense against the hard-hitting Cougars.
Senior setter Kalli Wiker added a team-high 29 assists and finished with 300 for the season, an average of 23 per match.
“Everything seemed to be functioning well,” she said. “Blocking was one of the main things we were working on today. And I think we kept our energy (up).”
Wiker, a four-year varsity starter, said this iteration of the Wolves was the best team she’s played with in her four years.
“We really bonded as a team,” Wiker said.
“I think they’ll do really well next year,” she said.
Tight match throughout
Central Kitsap, coming off a four-set against Olympic League powerhouse North Kitsap on March 16 — a team that swept Sequim earlier this season — sought to take control in game one behind big hitting from Camryn Lingenbrink, Allie Baldridge and Baylee Anderson.
But the Wolves had a response each time, with Kendall Hastings getting a key kill to even the first set at 21-21. Weller followed with back-to-back-to-back aces to bring Sequim to match point, and Kendall Hastings capped the set with a block for the set victory. In all, the first game had eight ties and three lead changes.
Strong serving from Gale and Webber and five CK hitting errors gave Sequim an early 9-1 lead in the second set before the Cougars recovered, drawing as close as one point late (23-22) on a kill by Anderson. But a CK service error gave SHS a game point and Kendall Hastings added a big kill for a 25-23 win int he second game.
Weller once again fueled an early run for the Wolves in game three, with a trio of aces to put Sequim up 6-0. Central Kitsap closed the gap in the back-and-forth set to three points (19-16) following a Lingenbrink kill, but Malory Morey had a kill for a 20-16 lead and Gale had a diving dig for a point to put Sequim up 21-16.
Kendall Hastings added a key block moments later for a 24-18 Sequim lead, and Weller had a kill to give Sequim a 25-20 set victory and the match.
The Cougars edged Sequim in a fourth set, 26-24.
Sequim finishes the season 10-3 overall, a six-win improvement over last season’s 4-10 squad.
The Wolves will graduate a number of key pieces, including Wiker, Julmist, Weller, McKenna Hastings and Jessica Asselin, from this year’s team.
Webber, who is headed to Brigham Young University to study nursing, said her team could have made a good run in the postseason had one been possible.
“It’s nice to go out on a win,” she said.
Webber Heilman said she’s got a strong team potentially returning — among them, Kendall Hastings, Gale, Hegtvedt, Vaara, Morey, Lindsay Swanson and Kelsi Bergeson — but is concerned about recruiting freshmen to help bolster the program. Middle school programs did not have a volleyball season in 2020-2021, so the Sequim coach will be trying to find ways to attract eighth-graders to the sport for next fall.
But on Saturday afternoon, players were happy to enjoy the present. The win put an exclamation point on a season filled with a myriad health guidelines, from playing in only groups of six early on, to temperature checks to sanitizing hands when checking in and out during matches, and spacing themselves out on bus rides.
“It’s good for the kids who’ve had to put up with all the stuff they’ve had to this year,” Webber Heilman said
“They’re just happy to play. They like each other and love playing volleyball.”
Wolves top Trojans
The Wolves swept the visiting Olympic Trojans on march 17, winning 25-14, 25-15, 25-7 and, in an extra game, 25-16.
The Wolves served 90 percent as a team with 21 aces.
Wiker led the way, serving 24-of-25 with seven aces and adding 26 assists and two blocks.
The senior had a 10-point serving run in the first game, including four of her aces.
“She’s really proud of her stuff blocks because she’s not one of our taller players,” Webber Heilman said.
Amanda Weller opened the match with a seven-point serving run, including four aces; she added four kills. Kendall Hastings led Sequim with 17 kills, getting six of those with no hitting errors in the third game.
Webber Heilman said the teams held a moment of silence for three Bainbridge High School students killed in a rollover collision earlier in the week. The teens were members of Olympic Premier Volleyball Club, which includes players from Sequim and Olympic.