SLIDESHOW: Highline vs Kennedy Vball
By: Jeremy Martin
On Tuesday night John F Kennedy Catholic hosted Highline in a match that if victorious would not only keep the Lancers firmly planted atop the Seamount League standings but would also solidify the school as the team to beat within in its hometown of Burien.
Things however wouldn’t be that easy for the pirates as their guests rolled down 1st Ave seeking revenge for a week two loss suffered at the hands of Kennedy.
But in end the Lancers were able overcame a sluggish opening game, taking the match 25-21, 23-8, 25-14
“Our focus is on trying to improve our play and not focus on what the other team is doing. Obviously they are one of our closest rivals, and they’ve gotten a lot better, and we know that,” Lancer head coach Joanne Uhl said.
A back and forth first quickly gave way to an onslaught of Lancer points as Kennedy raced out to an 11-1 second game advantage, spurred on by exceptionally aggressive net play, much of which came from Shayne McPherson and Apryll Eneliko.
“We started off a little shaky, I thought we were nervous, we had a little crowd here and we wanted to play well for students and fans; it took us a while to settle down,” Uhl said. “It started with our serving, Apryll went on a big run in the second set, I think she had five or six straight aces. That made it easier for Shayne to get up and put some balls away.”
The Lancers (8-0) were led by McPherson’s 8 digs, Eneliko’s 9 aces and 14 kills and by Jasmine Moore’s 15 assists.
Highline (5-4) had hoped to come into enemy territory and steal a victory from the conference leading Lancers, while also remaining in the upper echelon of the Seamount League and the Pirates initial effort to slow the tempo and neutralize an aggressive Lancer attack proved fruitful as the guests were able to trade leads, and dictate momentum for much of the match’s opening game.
“The main goal they had tonight was picking up the serves and turning them into executions, they (highline) came out and did exactly what they needed to do,” Pirates head coach Cindy Akana said.
But Highline, who was missing three key members of the squad, had trouble keeping pace with both Kennedy’s depth and power.
Trailing by 10 points following the Lancer’s second game run, Akana was forced to take a timeout to regroup and calm her team.
“My timeout out, we just don’t see servers like that,” Akana. “I just came out and said ‘ok, here’s what you’re doing right, here’s what you should look for,’ the fact that they started picking those serves up, tells me something about them as athletes.”
Though she was able to ease some nerves and talk strategy, the Pirates were not able to pull any closer as it dropped the game by a match high 15 points.
Highline was able to keep within striking distance for much of the third, managing to spur on several extended rallys, but once again was unable to hold off a Lancer squad who was perpetually on the attack.
Despite finishing the night strong, the Pirates dropped the final set and would have to bus back across town anxiously awaiting next season’s two game showdown with its local rival.
“My girl’s played better than they did at the beginning of the year, I’m very proud of what they did,” Akana said.
The Pirates will look to get back on track Thursday night at 7pm when it plays host to Tyee (0-7).
Kennedy’s next match also comes on Thursday in a home game against Foster (2-7).
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