Wolves vie for share of league crown
by MICHAEL DASHIELL
Sequim's volleyball squad didn't need to wait for November for playoff-atmosphere games.
The Wolves positioned themselves perfectly for one of the Olympic League's top seeds to districts with a pair of wins against key opponents last week, knocking off rival Port Angeles in three sets on Oct. 19 and surviving a four-set match with Olympic two days later.
If Port Angeles' Roughriders can manage to knock off North Kitsap this week (an Oct. 26 match-up), Sequim can earn a share of the league championship and possibly take the top seed to the West Central District tournament, slated for Oct. 30 at Franklin Pierce High School.
If North Kitsap wins, Sequim is the No. 2 seed and opens district play Saturday morning at 10 a.m. See www.wcd3.org/g_volleyball.htm for the complete bracket and updates.
The Wolves wouldn't be anywhere close to a share of the title if not for a pair of huge wins last week, knocking off Port Angeles in straight sets on Oct. 19 and Olympic in four sets on Oct. 21.
Taking on the Roughriders for the second time this season, Sequim dominated from the opening set, topping the Rider hosts 25-16, 25-14 and 25-19.
Haleigh Harrison led the attack with 11 kills while Taylor Balkan has 23 assists. She and Rylleigh Zbaraschuk led a strong defensive effort with 14 digs each. Jessica Lauritzen and Kyla Martin added five kills each and the Wolves tallied 12 total aces.
"We pretty much dominated the match," Sequim coach Jennie Webber Heilman said. "Haleigh was hammering the ball at the net. Our passing from Maddy (Zbaraschuk), Rylleigh and Kyla was right on. The team played very tough defense."
But the Wolves needed a win on Oct. 21 at home - senior night for Lauritzen and Maddy Zbaraschuk - against Olympic to stay in line for a top playoff seed. The Trojans handed Sequim a loss in September in a nonleague match.
This time around,
Sequim outlasted the Trojan attack, winning 25-20, 21-25, 25-16 and 25-20.
"We really pulled together (in) the third and fourth games." Webber Heilman said.
Harrison and Maddy Zbaraschuk paced the offense, combining for 20 kills. Maddy Zbaraschuk had five aces and sister Rylleigh added 14 digs to lead the defense.
Balkan, a sophomore, led the team with 33 assists.
"Without her hustle and great setting choices," Webber Heilman said, "the match would have been a lot closer."