Mercer Island volleyball beat Lake Washington 3-1 to clinch the KingCo League championship.
The Islanders (11-1 overall, 8-1 league) came into the match rattled after their first season loss to Bellevue Tuesday, and it showed. Lake Washington (8-3, 8-2) came out strong, winning the first set 25-15.
Mercer Island’s starting setter Natalie Robinson sat out with an ankle sprain, and the Islanders were playing with new rotations for the second time after the Bellevue game. Different chemistry, along with some uncertainty, put Mercer Island defensively out-of-sync and shy at the net.
“We definitely just couldn’t get into a groove,” said Mercer Island outside hitter Jemma Yeadon. “We just let them run the game. They definitely wanted that one more, and we didn’t come up ready.”
However, after the first set it was all Mercer Island. The Islanders took the final three sets 25-19, 25-22, and 25-19.
“We realized this game would decide KingCo, so everyone just had to refuse to not do less than their best,” Yeadon said.
That self-confidence along with some key adjustments kept Mercer Island ahead. The Islanders starting setting the ball more to Yeadon, were more aggressive on serves, and adjusted its right side blocking.
“They have a great offense,” said Lake Washington head coach Stephanie Kuhn. “It put us for a scramble, and it was tough coming back when they have such a strong offense.”
Yeadon, a Notre Dame commit, led the charge with 22 kills, 12 digs, and two blocks. Middle Helena Shield added five blocks, and Adara Hamilton chipped in seven kills, two aces, and three digs. Libero Tess Hendelman, who stepped into the defensive role for the first time last year, had eight digs and three aces.
“Tess, her serve receive was spot-on tonight,” McKay said. “She’s such a steady, even-keeled player, which is exactly what you need for libero.”
Mercer Island hosts Eisenhower Saturday, and Lake Washington plays Liberty at home Tuesday.