North Creek punches ticket to state volleyball tournament

Jaguars will take on Richland in opening round.

North Creek has its bags packed for the Jaguars’ second consecutive 4A state tournament trip on Nov. 22-23 to the Yakima SunDome.

With a three-set sweep of Jackson on Nov. 12 in the 4A Wes-King district volleyball semifinals, North Creek qualified for the big dance.

Four days later, No. 1 KingCo seed North Creek battled No. 1 Wesco seed Lake Stevens in the district final at Glacier Peak High. Lake Stevens emerged victorious in the thrilling five-setter, 25-18, 25-23, 15-25, 18-25, 15-13, that had the crowd roaring and stomping its feet in the packed gym.

North Creek (17-3), which will take on Richland at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, gutted it out against Lake Stevens, battling back to tie the match and then holding off match point five times in the final set.

“This was by far the biggest environment we’ve ever played in. The crowd was incredible, the energy was just something that we’ve never experienced before. That momentum going into state, it was a really big confidence boost. It was crazy,” said junior setter/right side Emmi Foltz.

It was North Creek’s first five-setter of the season, and Foltz feels Lake Stevens challenged the Jaguars each step of the way. Foltz is proud of how her squad fought back and of its accomplishments this season, which included winning the 4A KingCo tournament crown.

Foltz said the Jaguars focused on their side of the net to stage the epic comeback. They played North Creek volleyball, which Folz said features “intensity, cohesion, being unified, the work ethic and just executing. We have so much talent on this team, and it’s been such an amazing team to be a part of.”

The Jaguars are part of setting the pace to create a solid program, Foltz said.

Along with players like senior outside hitter/middle blocker Allison Wilks and freshman outside hitter Kyleene Filimaua putting dents in the floor with their kills, freshman libero Bella Moon covered some serious ground on the court by diving for balls and notching digs all day.

As a defensive specialist, Moon’s mindset is playing her hardest, going for every ball and having fun with her teammates.

“I think our team really fought really hard and we all wanted it,” Moon said. “We came in as (this being) just a preparation for state because Lake Stevens is 2 and we’re No. 3 in state, so it helped us to see what we’re gonna face at state.” The rankings are according to the MaxPreps site.

Moon added that the Jaguars are a positive group and they cheer each other on all the way.

“I think as a team, we’re really close on and off the court and we feel really comfortable with each other.”

* Bothell beat Monroe, 3-1, on Nov. 12 and lost to Issaquah, 3-0, on Nov. 14 to finish its season with a 14-8 record.

North Creek’s Kyleene Filimaua dives for a ball against Lake Stevens. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo

North Creek’s Kyleene Filimaua dives for a ball against Lake Stevens. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo