Senior Night last night for Mount Si High School’s volleyball program featured a little emotion in the pregame ceremonies, as the team’s five seniors – players Sarah Brevick, Anna McCreadie, Jenn Rogers and Liz Larson along with student manager Dominique Knoppi – were recognized for their years of service to the Wildcat program, then, after that, Mount Si used that emotion to fuel a very satisfying win that may have helped start to right a ship that had stumbled somewhat with two losses last week.
The Wildcats this season have not seen much in the way of three-set sweep victories, but last night’s match against Redmond proved to be one, as Mount Si took care of business, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20.
“I’m very excited that we finally got a win in three. More excited that we got to celebrate our five seniors,” said an elated Wildcat coach Bonnie Foote, who added, “I was just pleased with our overall intensity level. I felt like the girls came prepared; we didn’t have too many ebbs and flows in the match. I thought we were pretty even keel, pretty consistent which was nice to see.”
The Mustangs to open the match didn’t make things easy for scarlet and gray, breaking out to a small lead that they were able to maintain as both clubs frequently changed possession during the early portion of the first frame. Brevick, though, came up to serve midway through the frame, and strong play by the Mount Si offense – and a key ace on serve – helped propel the Wildcats in front 12-11, and it was a lead the Wildcats would not relinquish despite Redmond’s best efforts; solid play from top outside hitters such as Audrey Hyem and Elise Petit helped keep the Mustangs close. But a Larson kill on the second Mount Si game point with Redmond on serve sealed things up, and the Wildcats were in business heading to set two.
Larson was pleased with how well her team translated a strong Monday practice into last night’s match. “It was really great coming back after two losses last week and competing so well, because we worked really hard on a lot of things at practice (Monday) and I think we all applied what we worked on (in practice)in the game tonight,” she said.
Hyem opened set two with an ace for the Mustangs, and once again, Redmond proved to be a tough customer early in this frame, just as they were early in the opening set. But another Larson kill put Mount Si in front 8-7 midway through the stanza, and the Wildcats got good play from players such as Brevick, Scout Turner and Tati Utley to help maintain that advantage. Both McCreadie’s, Anna and Katie, with a large family contingent in attendance, had key kills down the stretch, and a Larson ace locked up the second set for the Wildcats on the first game point.
Just as she finished the second set, Larson opened the third set with another ace, and Mount Si was off to the races. But Hyem then popped back-to-back aces and Redmond was out in front, once again proving to be a difficult team early on in a frame. Then Anna McCreadie decided to change things up. Late in the second set, she went from her standard serve back to a so-called “jump serve”, a serve which, as we have told you, has met with mixed results for the Santa Clara-bound star. Well, in last night’s game, the “jump serve” proved to be on target, as she reeled off eight out of nine of those with success during her service sequences in the second and third sets, including a stretch of 5-6 at one point midway through the third frame, with four aces as part of that.
Mount Si used it to take control of the third set, and McCreadie closed things out with back-to-back aces to give the Wildcats a much-needed confidence boost, that, combined with the return of Utley to the lineup (hamstring) and soon-to-be return of junior Haley Holmberg, out all year with injuries but who was in uniform last night and did not play, could see Mount Si mount a late-season push for postseason. Rogers hopes fans are excited about what lies ahead. “They can expect a really tough team,” she said. “We are going to be a very competitive team. I think we all work really well together.”
McCreadie finished with 15 kills, six aces, three digs and two blocks to lead Mount Si, while Courteney Carr added 19 assists, five digs and an ace to pace things, and Rogers finished with 15 digs and an assist to aid the Wildcats. Larson closed out her home career at Mount Si with a solid six kills, eight digs, three aces and 2 ½ blocks.
Brevick was very happy with how things went. “It just felt good. We’ve been working really hard in practice and just building up to this and focusing on us, so it felt good to come out there and prove what we can do,” she said.
McCreadie had these words of wisdom for future Wildcats. “Work hard. Commitment can’t be compartmentalized,” she said. “You can’t give 100% in just one area of your life, it has to be everything. Otherwise you won’t find success and you won’t find joy and satisfaction in what you’ve accomplished.”
Larson, like McCreadie, hopes to be playing collegiately next fall; she told the SVSJ she is scheduled to take a college visit this weekend, to the University of Redlands in California, one of among a few schools, mostly in southern California, she is currently looking at. She also had some advice for future Mount Si players. “Come out work hard every day in practice. Don’t be afraid to just go for every single ball and let other people think you’re crazy for working so hard because it really does pay off in the end,” she said. Redlands, for those curious, has a MSHS grad playing sports there this fall – women’s soccer freshman Hailey Kuykendall.
Mount Si is at Eastlake tomorrow to start a three-game road swing to close out the regular season. Next week, the Wildcats are at Skyline and at Woodinville. Matches start at 7:00 p.m.
JV falls in tough one: The Mount Si JV started out strong, but ended up on the short end just barely, falling in three to the Mustangs, 16-15, 27-25, 15-13. Drew Butler led the way for the Wildcats with 11 assists, four kills and a block, and Sarah Miller added 17 digs and an ace to the effort. Emily Cole pitched in seven kills, four digs, an ace and a block to pace Mount Si, who also had a solid four kill, eight ace, seven dig performance from Amanda Harkleroad. The Wildcats meet Eastlake tomorrow.
“C” team swept: Mount Si’s “C” team fell 25-18, 25-16, 15-13 to Redmond last night. Riley Ovall had a solid effort to lead the Wildcats, with 10 digs, four aces, a kill and an assist, while Sydney Prins pitched in six aces, five digs and an assist. Hailey Ramsey also added six digs and an ace to the Mount Si cause; the Wildcats meet the Eastlake Wolves at 5:30 tomorrow night leading up to the varsity match at 7:00.
Big night for ex-Wildcat in college volleyball upset
While her younger sister Dominique was being recognized for her work as MSHS volleyball student manager, Missouri Valley College sophomore Gen Knoppi, a 2013 Mount Si grad, was putting on a show last night helping her team score a huge upset win on the road.
MVC took down Evangel, ranked in the top 20 nationally in NAIA volleyball, in five, 25-22, 25-17, 11-25, 11-25, 17-15, on Evangel’s home floor in Springfield, MO, and Knoppi made her mark. She had 16 digs and an assist to aid Missouri Valley, now 18-13 on the season.