With hopes of pushing the program to higher levels, Mountlake Terrace Hawks volleyball Coach Rene Noeun helped put together an early season non-league schedule this year that includes two competitively-strong Saturday tournaments and a match-up with a 3A state tourney qualifier from 2016.
If the results from the Hawks’ first outing of this year are indicative, the team will be able to hold their own in these testing early season clashes.
Terrace dropped their season opener 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 27-25) to the Squalicum Storm Tuesday at Mountlake Terrace High School, but was competitive against the Storm in all three games.
Squalicum went 12-2 in the regular season last year, finished second in the Northwest Conference and competed at the 2016 WIAA 3A State Volleyball Tournament.
“They’re a great team,” Noeun said of the visiting Storm. “It was good for us to see a team like that early on. I wanted to see tough teams in the preseason, that’s the whole goal of it. Because it will challenge us for the rest of the season.”
Terrace held a lead over Squalicum at times in each of the three games on Tuesday, but each time the Storm was able to come back and get past the Hawks to earn the sweep.
Despite ending the evening with a loss, Noeun showed little disappointment. “I think my girls played well,” she said. “They were nervous with the big crowd and the first game of the season, and they’re just trying to do well. I told them again there’s no pressure. We learn and now we know what we need to work on for tomorrow and for the next game. We’re just taking it day-by-day at this point.”
In addition to gaining valuable game experience against a strong opponent, the Hawks also experienced the pressure that comes with tight competition.
The second and third games of the match weren’t decided until their final moments. In game two, Terrace and Squalicum were tied at 16-16, 18-18, 19-19, 21-21 and 22-22 before the Storm rattled off the final three points of the game to grab the 25-22 win.
Then in the third game the Hawks fought back from a 8-1 start to knot it up at 24-24 and then again at 25-25. But Squalicum’s Emma Schroder picked up two straight kills to close out the third game and push her team to the 27-25 win and the sweep.
Schroder scored the Storm’s final four points of the match – all on kills – and tallied eight kills in the final game.
Terrace’s Candace Disney spiked three kills of her own in the third game of the match, but it wouldn’t be enough to lead the Hawks to a victory.
Interested in seeing how her players performed in game conditions , Noeun gave each of them on the varsity roster significant playing time on Tuesday, including new varsity addition Karly Rismoen.
“I think Karly did a great job,” Noeun highlighted. “She’s a first-time player at the varsity level as a junior. So I just threw her out there to see if she could do it and I think she can handle it … I really think she stepped up today. She stayed calm, she was focused, she didn’t have a double (double hit when setting to a teammate).”
Noeun also mentioned new varsity players Kierra Scott and Isabel Ong as having strong efforts on Tuesday.
While all ten varsity players performed well in the season opener, Noeun also shared that no one on the roster should feel totally confident there.”There’s some hot players on the JV (junior varsity) that I think sooner-or-later I will be ready to pull up,” Noeun stated. “That means for the varsity level that your position is not safe. And I like that because it makes them fight for their spot.”
The Hawks will travel to Bellevue on Thursday to face the Sammamish Totems – a team they defeated 3-0 last season – at Sammamish High School. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
In other Terrace sports action on Tuesday, both the Hawk girls soccer team and the boys tennis team had their matches postponed due to the poor air quality in the region.
Prep Volleyball: Squalicum at Mountlake Terrace, Sept. 5
Squalicum 3 – Mountlake Terrace 0 (25-18, 25-22, 27-25)
Records: Mountlake Terrace 0-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 0-1 overall; Squalicum 0-0 in 2A/3A Northwest Conference, 1-0 overall
Mountlake Terrace next match: versus Sammamish, Thursday, Sept. 7, 7:00 p.m. at Sammamish High School in Bellevue
–By Doug Petrowski