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Bothell High outlasts Issaquah on Senior Night | Volleyball
In what was its most pivotal, pressure-filled match of the year, the Bothell High volleyball team defeated a talented and extraordinarily tall Issaquah High team on Senior Night last Tuesday at home.
On paper, the match looked like it would be one-sided. Issaquah has seven girls on its roster that are 6 feet or taller, including the trio of 6-foot-3 sophomore Alyssa Schultz, 6-foot-1 junior Stephanie Jones and 6-foot sophomore Rachel Roeder, who led the offensive attack.
In contrast, the tallest girl in Bothell’s lineup was just 5-foot-10. But what the Cougars lacked in height, they made up for in heart, and experience.
“They have a lot of weapons,” said Bothell head coach Marlie Davis. “Part of my speech to them was that they’re going to get kills, we’re going to get kills ... you just have to keep at it.”
Bothell did just that and notched a 3-1 victory to up its 4A Kingco record to 8-1 at the Reporter deadline.
The night got off to an inauspicious beginning for the Cougars, who were never able to get anything going offensively during a 20-25 loss.
Game two saw an offensive outburst by the home team, as five different Cougars were credited with kills in the game, led by outside hitter Charnele Odingo with five. The two teams were locked into fierce, point-trading battle as the score was knotted at six, eight and then 11 before the Cougars broke away, scoring six of the next seven points to put them up, 17-12.
After briefly losing momentum, which included two straight authoritative kills by Roeder to put the game within the Eagles’ reach at 21-19, the Cougars were able to put the game away, 25-21.
With the match score tied at one apiece, both teams came out firing for the all-important third game. Bothell was trailing the whole way until the Cougars scored four straight points, including two brilliant point-saving digs by libero Dez Diego, which turned the tide in favor of Bothell. The Cougars eventually won, 25-16.
This set up the fourth game, which was one for the ages. Facing elimination, the Eagles put Bothell in a 0-4 hole early. But in true Cougar form, the ladies clawed their way back into contention, including back-to-back service aces by setter Anna Buck to tie the score at 6-6. After trading spike for spike and rally for rally, the score would be tied at 18, 20, 21 and then 22 points as the Cougar fans held their collective breath.
The difference in the match was the next point, when Issaquah’s Roeder, who spiked a team-leading 15 kills during the match, delivered a monster hit that was ruled just a bit outside by the line judge. That made the score 23-22 in favor of the Cougars, and two points later, senior Blythe Cannon ended the game with a perfectly placed hit that landed in between three diving Eagle defenders.
“It’s amazing, it was so much fun because we all played with so much heart,” Cannon said. “I love going out there.”
And what was going through her mind when that final ball came to her in the left corner?
“Just do it for the team,” she said. “That was all I was thinking.”
Coach Davis marveled at her team’s ability to serve and serve-receive, which she noted was the key in the match since the two teams were both strong at the net.
“Those are the two mainstays you gotta have click, because we were both strong offensive teams,” Davis said. “Fortunately, I got the opportunity to scout (Issaquah) last Thursday ... I gave them a couple pieces, such as, ‘In this situation it would be helpful,’ but it was tough. They played a great match, too.”
Cannon led the offense for the Cougars with 16 kills to go along with 14 digs, Odingo was a force on the outside with 15 kills and defensive specialists Diego and Zoe Iida dug up 10 and 23 balls for Bothell, respectively. Setter Buck had three of the team’s four service aces and assisted on 32 of her team’s points.
“It was really intense, and we went out there thinking that anything is possible,” said Odingo, an outside hitter. “It was really fun to go out on the court and come out winning in the end.”
After a raucous post-game celebration, Davis, a fourth-year coach for Bothell, reflected on how much this game meant to her team as a confidence boost for the playoffs.
“I told the girls, ‘You know that feeling you have right now? That’s what it’s going to be like for the rest of the season,’” she said. “Our playoffs really started right here. We just have to make sure to find ways to get better. We can’t get satisfied or content with where we are, because there’s always things you can get better at.”