Playoff previews and picks, Mount Si volleyball style

Good Saturday morning. We’ll have the Wildcat football wrap on deck, but we wanted to start the day this morning with our playoff previews and picks for Mount Si High School’s volleyball team as it travels north to Bothell High School for the first round of the Kingco 4A playoffs.

KINGCO 4A VOLLEYBALL – PLAYOFFS, FIRST ROUND
MOUNT SI WILDCATS VS. INGLEMOOR VIKINGS
BOTHELL HIGH SCHOOL, TODAY, FIRST SERVE 11:30AM

Mount Si and Inglemoor meet for the second time this season in the playoff opener for both squads. The Wildcats come into the event as the third seed in the Kingco tournament, with a 6-2 league mark, 10-4 overall. Inglemoor comes in as the sixth seed, 4-4 in league, 9-5 overall. But these two teams the last time they met, which was back on October 7 up at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, it went the full five, with Mount Si winning in tight fashion in that fifth set 15-13.

Inglemoor will be led by senior Haley Harris in today’s matchup. Harris had 23 kills and 20 digs in that contest for the Vikings and is leading the team this season in kills, averaging, we would say, based on their MaxPreps stats, around 17-20 kills a contest. Mount Si’s front line will need to pay close attention to Harris and be ready to take action to keep her at bay. But, as you probably know, that front line will have a huge void today for the Wildcats in the form of no Katie McCreadie. We have been told the ankle injury she suffered during Mount Si’s win Wednesday over Woodinville turned out to be pretty serious, so she is likely out for the remainder of the season. McCreadie in that contest against the Vikings recorded a modest three kills, five blocks, four digs and an assist, so her contributions will be missed.

Other players for Inglemoor to keep an eye on include senior Kate Carpenter, who had 21 digs in the previous match against the Wildcats and is leading the Vikings in digs on the season with 260, and fellow senior Emiley Melillo, who had 26 assists in the earlier tussle and is leading her squad in that category with a staggering 344.

Mount Si will be led by the tandem of senior Haley Holmberg and sophomore Patience O’Neal. Holmberg, who had 19 kills in the win over the Vikings earlier this month, had a solid Senior Night on Wednesday with 12 kills, six digs, an ace and 1 ½ blocks, while O’Neal, who had just seven kills and two digs for Mount Si Wednesday in a more limited role than what we’ve seen from her this season, recorded her season-best efforts in the Wildcats’ win over the Vikings – 28 kills and six digs, in addition to a block, ace and two assists. As you remember, that effort earned the newcomer from Spokane a recognition in our weekly Athlete of the Week segment.

Keep an eye as well on juniors Courteney Carr and Cameron Kendall – Carr had 51 assists, 12 digs and four kills in the previous Inglemoor match, and Kendall posted a 23 dig, one assist effort in that contest. Both players had solid outings on Wednesday so both of those players should be primed to contribute today.

But, we have to get back to discuss McCreadie’s absence and what that could mean today. Mount Si this fall played a large number of five-set matches, with mixed results – the win over the Vikings came off a five-set loss to Bothell, and down the stretch this fall, the Wildcats went five with teams seeded lower in this playoff, such as Eastlake and Redmond, needing to hold on in both of those matches to get things done. A loss like McCreadie’s, even with the modest stats she had in the previous match against the Vikings, will make a difference. Look for junior Sophie Click to help fill that void; she had seven kills on Wednesday.

Then there is also the issue of experience, and while many of these girls likely remember the atmosphere from last year’s tournament, your top two offensive threats, well, that’s a bit different story. Holmberg was coming off an injury at this time last fall, and O’Neal was plying her trade east of the mountains in a tough Greater Spokane League. And while we have very high regard for the quality of the play over in the Lilac City, the Kingco 4A playoffs are in a class by themselves, a mini-state tournament of sorts when you consider how strong many of these squads are. Remember what coach Bonnie Foote said to us after the Wildcats’ win over Eastlake a couple of weeks ago.

“You can not look at a record in this conference and determine who’s good and who’s not,” Foote said. “Every team that we’ve played in this conference, in my opinion, could be in first place.” So there is that, and remember, Bothell was a second-seed last year, and guess what, they didn’t even make it out of the tournament. So upsets are very much a possibility, and considering the youth and how tight a lot of Mount Si’s matches have been this fall, the high seeding which undoubtedly puts a little higher pressure on the girls and now the injury to McCreadie, we fear the Wildcats could be an upset victim themselves.

We’re looking for another five-set barnburner, and for the Vikings to eke it out this time.

INGLEMOOR IN 5

Now to the afternoon session at 4:30. We like Bothell to beat Redmond in four in their first-round game at 2:00, so we expect the Wildcats to meet the Mustangs in the loser-out match later this afternoon.

Mount Si Wildcats vs. Redmond Mustangs, Kingco 4A playoffs, loser out, 4:30pm, Bothell HS – Holmberg’s 26 kills and 10 digs led the Wildcats to a five-set win over the Mustangs last time out 12 days ago on October 19, with that fifth set once again going 15-13 for scarlet and gray. So again, as we just noted, these five-set barnburners have been quite close, and we would expect that again here. Kendall had 26 digs that night and Carr popped 46 assists, so both of them also will be factors. But O’Neal will be counted on to do most of the heavy lifting – she had a double-double of 16 kills and 17 digs in that win, so the sophomore will be key for sure.

We’re looking, as we just noted, for another five-set cliffhanger, but for Mount Si to be on the right side of the coin this time. Mount Si in 5

There will also be a sub-division of the playoffs going on at Newport High School in Bellevue, featuring the Knights, Skyline, Issaquah and Eastlake. In that group, we look for Skyline and Newport to win their first-round matches, both in five sets, and for the Spartans to pull the upset on the Knights tonight.

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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