Braves earn comeback win against Wolverines

Bellevue loses to Bishop Blanchet in first round of 3A SeaKing playoffs.

Things didn’t go according to plan for the Bellevue Wolverines in the opening match of the 2018 3A SeaKing district volleyball tournament.

The Bishop Blanchet Braves earned a 3-1 (26-28, 25-8, 25-16, 25-11) victory against Bellevue to clinch a berth in the Class 3A state tournament on Nov. 8 at Sammamish High School in Bellevue. Bellevue won the first set 28-26 but Bishop Blanchet rallied with three straight victories in the final three sets to take the match.

Bellevue, which won the 3A KingCo tournament on Nov. 1, will face Seattle Prep at 1 p.m. on Nov. 10 in a loser-out playoff match at Lakeside High School in Seattle.

“We’re still very optimistic. We didn’t end first (place) in KingCo for no reason,” Bellevue head coach Jamie Tingelstad said. “It is just a matter of coming across opponents we haven’t seen and being able to play the game we know how to play in pressure situations.”

Bellevue, who trailed Bishop Blanchet 23-20 in the first set, displayed their grit early in the match. The Wolverines outscored the Braves 8-3 down the stretch en route to a 28-26 triumph and a 1-0 lead in the match. Bellevue senior Naomi Chen-Mallouk scored three of the final eight points in the first set for her team. Bellevue senior Jenna Keenan had the game-clinching kill that barely landed in bounds for the 28th point.

Tingelstad was encouraged by her team’s performance in the pressure-packed first set.

“That was huge for us because too often this season I feel like we’ve dropped the first set. When we are down in a tight situation, it is all about the mental game. Tonight was just evidence that we can do it. We’ve done it a couple of times this season. We’re going to take that positive and move forward. That is what we are going to do,” Tingelstad said.