Mount Si volleyball looks to take another step closer to state tonight. Wildcats. Knights. Onward and upward. Preview and our thoughts……

Onward and upward for Mount Si volleyball as it faces another do-or-die in the WesKing 4A bi-district tournament tonight.

KINGCO 4A VOLLEYBALL
WESKING BI-DISTRICT TOURNAMENT (LOSER OUT)
MOUNT SI WILDCATS (KINGCO #6) VS. KAMIAK KNIGHTS (WESCO #5)
BOTHELL HIGH SCHOOL, FIRST SERVE 7:00 P.M.

This loser-out match features the Wildcats taking on a strong Kamiak team coming off a season-extending win Tuesday in a bi-district loser out game over Woodinville.

The 25-17, 25-13, 24-26, 25-15 win had some solid performances, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and it also had some other players with modest performances, all of which helped the overall efforts.

Let’s talk Kamiak. The Knights have had a solid season this year. They’re 12-7 on the season and earned the fifth seed out of the Wesco 4A Conference. When you consider some of their numbers, though, that 12-7 mark doesn’t exactly to us at least do it justice. But here’s two things to consider. First, they opened this tournament beating a strong Skyline team (then beat Bothell Tuesday to get to this match on Bothell’s home floor no less) and secondly, Kingco in this first year of the bi-district event comes in 2-5 against Wesco teams in head-to-head matchups during the tournament. Granted, Mount Si has one of those two wins, but the overall mark suggests the strength of Wesco teams overall, so the Knights, well, they’re in a strong league up north.

The STSPN webstream network, which covers Wesco sports, this season did a Kamiak game, against Jackson back on October 23 at JHS. We watched this video online yesterday and saw some things of interest to look for.

First, we have to be very complimentary of junior Sarah Brachvogel. She had 13 kills in that match, and was active throughout the whole contest. She’s a six-footer that watching her reminded us a little bit of an old-time Mount Si postseason nemesis from way back when in the SeaKing District 3A tournament. Remember the name Olivia Magill from Seattle Prep? Brachvogel was hitting the ball to all parts of the floor and giving Jackson defenders a big test. Mount Si’s defense will have its hands full, we expect, with Brachvogel.

Another player to watch will be senior Hannah Knutt. She ended up with 15 kills in this match, but it didn’t appear to us at least early on she was a big factor. That said, the 15 kills that night did lead Kamiak, so perhaps her contributions are more under-the-radar than anything. With that in mind, Knutt’s going to be another character that should give the Mount Si defense fits. Knutt also had four aces in the game, so her serving could also be a factor to watch, too.

Overall, we thought Kamiak looked to be a relatively scrappy, athletic bunch of girls, but there were points in the match where Jackson was able to string point streaks together, so the Knights are certainly prone to stretches of inconsistent play. If that occurs tonight, Mount Si’s going to need to be able to take advantage. Meaning that the players that need to step up as we have been telling you need to continue to do that tonight.

In the win over Woodinville on Tuesday that sent Mount Si into tonight’s game, Bailey Showalter had a double-double of 16 kills and 10 digs, and Bellah Gogan had 15 kills. Those two have developed into a nice one-two combo, so look for that to continue tonight. Setter Dana Dolan had another solid game Tuesday, with 35 assists and 14 digs. Dolan will need to continue her strong efforts of late tonight for the team to have success. Breana Fitzgerald also had a good match, with 13 digs, so look for that to continue as well.

At the end of the day, though, we get back to what we noted in the open of our discussion about Kamiak. The Knights did open this tournament with a strong win over a very good Spartans team that has swept Mount Si twice this season, most recently in the Kingco tournament, and the Kingco 4A overall is 2-5 against Wesco in this district playoff. Yes, as noted, Mount Si has one of those two wins, but that came in stunning come-from-behind fashion with a very tight fifth-set victory being the difference. So the key for the Wildcats is it must get out of the gate strong or this could be a long night.

Mount Si to this point has gone the deepest in a postseason it’s ever gone as a 4A school. They’re just a couple more wins away from punching a berth to Yakima, and they’re covering all their bases incase that happens. But getting there is going to be a challenge. They have to beat this opponent tonight, then they’re stuck with North Creek in their winner-to-state game Saturday if they get to it. Do these girls have what it takes? Well, this is where rubber meets the road, ladies. This is where you get your chance to etch your place among the best teams in Mount Si volleyball history. Teams in the past have had challenging roads within districts to get to state, and this road looks to be no less difficult.

You seniors have a job to do. Lead. Lead by example. And we trust all of you will. Bellah Gogan and Hayley West, both of you this past spring played with some of the top club programs in this region, and got a chance to play the best competition at your age group. It’s time now for both of you to take the skills you learned from facing that high level of competition and put them into practice here. Kami Smith and Sara Kaitlyn Mitchell, while the two of you weren’t in the same position as your two senior teammates this past spring, both of you have provided leadership in other ways, both on and off this floor. Your parents, both of you, have been instrumental figures within Mount Si sports for many years. It’s time for both of you to make that last statement that will help etch your senior class as a part of Mount Si volleyball history.

We like Kamiak tonight on paper, and if that holds true, this season will be done. But hell, if this Class of 2019 can crack the whip and lead the charge the rest of the way home, there’s every reason to expect to see these Mount Si ladies and their families packing the downtown Best Western Plus in Yakima next weekend having a blast at state.

KAMIAK IN 4

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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