Lopez Volleyball team makes it all the way to State Playoffs

The Lopez Volleyball team during a lighter moment on the way back from the state playoffs.

The Lobos volleyball team has been on a rocky ride this year, but on Wednesday Nov. 4, they won a key district play off game against Crescent, 3-1. Overall scores were 25-23 Lopez, 25-20 Crescent, 25-20 Lopez, 25-17 Lopez, and this advanced the team to district playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 7.

“Marne Cook went 100% on serving against Crescent, hitting 17/17,” Coach Mellonnie Altona said. “This was a freshman, in district play, under pressure. She was great.”

Then on Saturday in Coupeville, during district playoffs, the Lobos went up against Mt. Rainier Lutheran for a berth at state playoffs. Lobos won 3-1 against Mt. Rainier, winning 25-19, Lopez, 25-11, Lopez, 25-21 Mt. Rainier, 25-21 Lopez.

“This win against Mt. Rainier assured us a berth in the state playoffs, and at district we advanced to the championship round against North Sound Christian. We were firing on all cylinders during that game but the power went out for 10 minutes and that stopped our good momentum. That was difficult,” Altona said. “This team has not played in a championship round, and for this team to play was just a great learning experience for them.”

“The gym was incredibly loud,” Vilina Sanborn-Bill said, Lobo team member. “We had all of our fans there plus all of the opposing teams we would have to play were screaming as well.”

Cook and Erin Wilbur, freshmen for the Lobos, stood out in their consistency of play. Cook, Wilbur and Sarah Stanley dominated at the net, blocking strong volleys from Mt. Rainier Lutheran and diving for balls that looked irretrievable. Hanifah McGovern also was strong on the court with her setting and returns.

“The girls have pulled together really well and having been playing very aggressively,” Altona said.

Then the team went to the state playoffs at the Yakima Sundome on Friday, Nov. 13 against the first team they were slated to play. The Lopez volleyball team fell 25-7, 25-6, 25-18 against second ranked Lacrosse/Washtucna in their first game.

“We didn’t get outplayed, we beat ourselves,” Altona commented. “We had some wonderful moments. It was a very frustrating game.”

The volleyball team fell in their second game against Northport on Saturday at 9 a.m.

“In game three against Northport, we came back 18-25.” Altona said. “They did come back mentally and they fought for it, and we had some very nice moments.

“Erin Dye had great kills, Erin Wilbur got some really nice blocks, and Marne Cook was very aggressive. I was proud of them as a team who stood up well under pressure. The other teams have played together longer but we didn’t give up.”

Lopez team member Helen O’Brien was chosen as recipient of the sportsmanship award for excellent sportsmanship that’s given to one player from each team.

“It’s the mental game our young players are struggling with,” Altona said, “but overall I’m very proud of the entire team. They have done well.”