The Bellevue volleyball team celebrates with the 3A KingCo tournament trophy on Nov. 7. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

The Bellevue volleyball team celebrates with the 3A KingCo tournament trophy on Nov. 7. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Bellevue wins a thriller to claim league tournament crown

The Wolverines beat the Interlake Saints 3-2 on Nov. 7.

In a tightly contested game, the Bellevue Wolverines won the 3A KingCo tournament championship with a 3-2 (26-24, 27-25, 23-25, 24-26, 15-13) victory over the Interlake Saints on Nov. 7.

The Wolverines won both the league title and the tournament title this season. Both teams will compete at the 3A Sea-King district tournament for a chance at making it to the state tournament. The Saints will play a loser-out game against the No. 9 seed out of the Metro League on Nov. 14 at Lakeside High School. The Wolverines will face the winner of a match between two Metro schools on Nov. 14 at Sammamish High School.

In a rematch of last year’s tournament final, the two teams played a close first set. The Saints took a 24-21 lead, but the Wolverines scored the next five points, including an ace from junior setter Mia Vong, to win the set 26-24.

The Saints had a chance to win the second set, leading 25-24, but the Wolverines came out with the 27-25 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match. In the third and fourth sets, the Saints were able to tie the match at two. Interlake senior middle blocker Haley Killeen had multiple key blocks to help the Saints force a fifth set.

In the fifth set, the Wolverines built a 13-8 lead and were able to hold on for a 15-13 win to secure the tournament championship.


Head coach Jamie Tingelstad said the wins against Interlake and their 3-0 win over Mercer Island in the first match were symbolic of the Wolverines working through their mental game all season.

“We’ve always had really great talent on our team, it’s just us believing that and being able to perform when things aren’t going our way,” Tingelstad said. “This season, after each one of our losses, I reminded our girls that the teams that go far aren’t the teams that don’t ever lose, they’re the teams that come up against adversity and are able to fight through it.”

Bellevue outside hitter Julia Bray said the team played frantic at times during the middle sets.

“There was a point when we got tired,” Bray said. “Something that we always say is, ‘If you’re tired, fake it.’ Because, if you can fake it, it will look scary to the other team. Even if we’re exhausted, if we can fake it, we can ride it out until the end.”

Last season, the Wolverines lost both of their district matches, a 3-1 loss to Bishop Blanchet and a 3-1 loss to Seattle Prep. Tingelstad said the Wolverines have been talking about getting back to districts since the second week of the season.

“We’ve been talking all season about the hard work we’re going to need to put in a so we could make it to this point and be competitive in districts,” Tingelstad said. Even after winning both the KingCo regular season and tournament championships, Bray said the Wolverines are only just now hitting their stride.

“We’ve had a good season on paper, obviously we’ve done pretty well, but I feel like we’re just now starting to feel our rhythm and starting to play to our full potential,” Bray said. “I think districts is going to be a challenge. Once you get to see the Metro teams, they’re pretty competitive, but I think if we can keep up this momentum, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.”


Even with a spot in the district tournament already secured before the game, the match against Bellevue meant a lot to the Saints. Despite losing to Bellevue in five sets for the second time in the last two years, Interlake head coach Eddie Guerrero was proud of his team.

“We know the way we can play and that we can compete against that team,” Guerrero said. “I’m proud of the team, this is the second year in a row that we’re here. When you go to five, it can go either way. It’s tough, it hurts, but we’re going to be ready for districts next week.”

The Saints had opportunities to win the first two sets, but they were unable to put the Wolverines away. Despite the tough loss, Guerrero said they need to focus on districts.

“At the end, we talked about how the girls did a good job and they should be proud and they have to move on and not get stuck on this because that’s not going to help in the next game at districts,” he said.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Interlake opposite hitter Sophie Kalencinski (left) jumps to block Bellevue setter Mia Vong (right) during the 3A KingCo tournament championship on Nov. 7. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Interlake opposite hitter Sophie Kalencinski (left) jumps to block Bellevue setter Mia Vong (right) during the 3A KingCo tournament championship on Nov. 7. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

More in Sports

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

Corulli runs wild in Newport victory

Newport sophomore Zachary Corulli literally tore up the turf while notching four… Continue reading

Bellevue blanks Interlake, 3-0, in girls soccer

Bellevue junior Kendall Serres, left, battles Interlake senior Audrey Doran for the… Continue reading

Mount Si’s Andy Cole tackles Bellevue’s Ishaan Daniels on March 12 after a lengthy run during Bellevue’s first possession of the second half, which resulted in a touchdown. Mount Si won, 23-13. In volleyball action on March 8, Bellevue defeated Newport, 3-0. Pictured for Bellevue (3-0) are Brooke Huard, left, and Kaitlyn Watson. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Ault Justus
Bellevue teams hit the gridiron and volleyball court

Mount Si’s Andy Cole tackles Bellevue’s Ishaan Daniels on March 12 after… Continue reading

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Bellevue alum becomes highest-paid safety in NFL history
Bellevue alum becomes highest-paid safety in NFL history

Budda Baker, 24, was winning at Bellevue High School before he was with the Arizona Cardinals.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

The Todd Beamer Titans football team in Federal Way during a 2019 summer practice. File photo
WIAA modifies prep sports calendar; football moved to spring

Washington’s high school athletics governing body announced its revised plans for the… Continue reading

WIAA delays start dates for fall sports
WIAA delays start dates for fall sports

Football practices to begin Sept. 5, all other sports planned for Sept. 7.