Teams struggle for volleyball district spots

PARKLAND - Class 2A West Central sub-district volleyball at Franklin Pierce High School turned into super struggles before one area high school scaled the wall to reach the home of the West Central District tournament.

Foster opened up with a 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, conflict against the Sumner Spartans and immediately fell to unfriendly fire on the court of the host Cardinals main gymnasium while losing a 3-1 match to Sumner.

"We had a lot of unforced errors," noted Bulldog head coach Brandi Travess. "It was a matter of being able to maintain good rhythm and stay focused to the end. We stress ourselves, so when it gets tough, instead of relaxing and settling into a good rhythm like the start of the third game, we tighten up."

Both teams wrestled mightily to serve over the net in a mistake prone first set. Sumner broke away from a 4-4 tie to lead 10-4 largely on Foster mistakes. Foster hung in there to close within 12-8 and 17-12, but unforced errors reared their threatening presence as the Spartans held the pass for a 23-15 triumph.

In the second set, a similar pattern emerged with Sumner surging from a 4-4 draw to once again assume a 10-4 advantage.Gradually, the Bulldogs gained a sense of flowing movement and chipped away at the deficit. Foster improved its defensive front action and dug deep for hard hit balls in a stream of play that brought the Bulldogs within 15-11.

With the set in close conflict, Foster fell away at the end. Some mistakes were made by the Bulldogs although the Spartans were gunning down Foster with a few power kills as well. Leading 20-11, Sumner surged into a 5-2 sprint to capture a 25-13 set win.

Foster began the third set with a completely different tone, smooothly working its game components together.

After clinging to a 5-4 edge, the Bulldogs found the rhythm similar to the outside, falling rain and went on a rocking rampage that was ignited by a Spartan net return on Aba Monkah's serve. Accurate ball movement off well situated serves placed the ball in good positions for the front line strikers to hammer away points down the line or cross court. Defensive spots were well tended as Foster players commmunicated clearly their intentions for each other. Sumner hitters were nullified because the Bulldogs controlled the location of the ball with whizzing passes.

Suddenly, the Spartans struck solid, diving serves including an ace as components in an 8-0 run that produced a 12-12 standoff. The Bulldogs gained side out for a temporary respite before Sumner struck back to tie the set at 13 and eventually push ahead. In a blazing battle, Sumner appeared to gain control, but Foster initiated a spirited rally and held sway at 21-18. Sumner returned fire as the teams fought on.

Tukwila's Bulldogs neared victory at 22-20, but the stubborn Spartans sailed back for ties at 22 and 23. Foster gained side out on the serve and Veronica Sun's powerful, singing serve was too much for Sumner to handle as Tukwila completed a 25-23 third set win.

"Every game I just want to win," said Lesieli Tapealava who earned 14 assists and three aces. "We controlled the serve and had good defense. We played cleanly and kept talking to each other."

Stellar play from Sumner and the return of nagging errors combined to nullify Foster's efforts after the Bulldogs trailed 9-6. Sumner outscored Foster 19-4 the rest of the journey to move on in the championship bracket.

Bulldog statistics bore out the overall problems. Big hitters were held in single digit kills. Monkah had seven kills while Eunica Serifica was credited with six. Kirsten Goins had three assists.

Foster moved into a winner-to district, loser out match up against Seamount foe Evergreen who had encountered even more resistance in a 3-0 loss to the Fife Trojans.

Firing away at each other for five, furious sets, the Wolverines of White Center earned a 3-2 WCD tournament berth which begins on Friday, Nov. 2, at Franklin Pierce High School. Lindbergh later closed out the Bulldog season with another five-set thriller in a winner-to-district, loser-out fray..

For Evergreen a 5 p.m. showdown against Olympic on Friday, Nov. 2, is on the agenda.

Tournament players for Foster included Clara Muna, Yen Le, Angela Teng, Veronica Sun, Marquis Daniels, Jesaulyn Atofau, Aba Monkah, Eunica Serafica, Ariana Serifica, Lesieli Tapealava, Tavaesina Maiava, Naomy Hernandez, Kirsten Goins and Kirsten Cruice.

Trekking to Class 2A district competition for the Bethany Tate-coached Evergreen Wolverines are Sina Vili, Cecilia Vu, Tori Mulitauopele, Maria Martinez, Stephanie Herrera, Fatu Toalima, Carolina Tupa, Tiffany Mowatt, Pilemau Savusa, Amber Meslar, J'Vonne Hendricks, Luana Tupa, NiNi Sagaio and Tina Fesili.

In addition to the previously mentioned schools, Steilacoom, Washington, White River and Lindbergh competed for district berths.

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