SPORTS: Sequim volleyball team finishes a win away from state placing

Peninsula Daily News

LAKEWOOD — The Sequim volleyball team met its goal of going to state and winning at least one match.

The Wolves were eliminated in the fifth-place semifinals, just a win away from placing in the state 2A championships Friday and Saturday at Pierce College.

Oh, and along the way the Wolves went undefeated in the Olympic League and the West Central District tournament, capturing league and district titles.

“The kids were sad when it was over, but we did reach our goal,” Sequim coach Jennie Webber-Heilman said.

“It’s not like we played poorly. We played well. We went against some good teams, and we just wanted to do a little more.”

For probably the first time in state history, the 2A tourney had three defending state champions, Burlington-Edison in 2A, Colville (which beat Sequim in the quarterfinals) in 1A, and eventual champion West Valley (Yakima) in 3A.

Reclassification ended up putting the top teams from three classifications from 2011 into 2A.

This was not the tournament for the faint-of-heart.

The Wolves opened tourney play by smashing fellow West Central District foe Steilacoom 3-0 in the first round Friday, 25-13, 25-21, 25-9.

Sequim really got down to business in the third game.

“We started out slow, probably because of jitters being at state,” Webber-Heilman said.

The Wolves took a big hit in that first match, though, when junior Kate Harker injured an ankle and missed the rest of the tournament.

Harker may need surgery on the ankle, Webber-Heilman said.

“Kate helped us win district,” Webber-Heilman said. “We missed her at the net. We had to move some kids around.”

Seniors Taylor Balkan and Haleigh Harrison led the Wolves again with standout matches against Steilacoom.

Balkan, the setter, had 26 assists, 18 digs and a block while power hitter Harrison earned 15 kills and two blocks at the net, along with 11 digs and four serving aces.

Emily Wallner and Alexas Besand earned six kills each while Katelynne McDaniels ended up with four kills.

“Our offense was spread around,” Webber-Heilman said.

Rylleigh Zbaraschuk, Hannah Hudson and Emma LeBlanc were strong on defense as Zbaraschuk had 12 digs while Hudson and LeBlanc added 11 digs each.

Hudson also had a serving ace.

The Wolves next faced Colville, the defending 1A champion, in the championship quarterfinals, losing 3-0, 25-13, 25-17, 25-17.

Colville went on to claim fourth place.

Sequim’s offense struggled in this match but Harrison still managed 11 kills and three stuff blocks. She also had five digs.

Balkan dished out 18 assists and had 11 digs while Hudson had a team-high 13 digs.

“Hannah played well on defense the whole tournament,” Webber-Heilman said.

Zbaraschuk added 10 digs.

Next up was Anacortes, which ended up taking fifth place, in the fifth-place semifinals.

Anacortes won 3-0 by the scores of 25-12, 25-19, 25-18.

Anacortes later beat defending 2A champion Burlington-Edison 3-0 in the fifth-place final match.

“We needed a little more hitting and blocking and we could have won that match,” Webber-Heilman said.

Hudson and Zbaraschuk earned 10 digs each against Anacortes while Harrison had a team-high 12 kills with nine digs.

Wallner and Caitlin Stofferahn had six kills each in the final match of the year.

The Wolves, who have had a strong run of late, will lose three starting seniors to graduation.

Balkan, Harrison and Zbaraschuk all played their final matches for Sequim.

Last modified: November 11. 2012 5:52PM
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