In a 3A SeaKing district volleyball tournament double-header, the Interlake Saints showed plenty of resilience by splitting their games on Nov. 14 at Lakeside High School.
The Saints won their first game of the night 3-1 (11-25, 25-10, 25-20, 25-20) in a loser-out match against the West Seattle Wildcats. The start for the Saints was not ideal, losing 25-11. Interlake sophomore outside hitter Lauren Riffe said after the first set, the team realized it had to leave everything out on the court.
“We had to do this for each other,” Riffe said. “We want to go to state. We have to work for every single point, (West Seattle) is a good team, but we knew that we could beat them.”
The Saints came out strong in the second set as they cruised to a 25-10 victory to even up the game at one. Interlake won the third and fourth sets 25-20 to win the match 3-1. The win guaranteed the Saints at least two more games this season.
In the second game of the night, the Saints faced the Seattle Prep Panthers in the district quarterfinal, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the 3A state tournament. The Panthers prevailed in three hard-fought sets (25-20, 25-21, 25-21) to win the match.
The Panthers jumped out to an early 16-4 lead in the first set before the Saints fought their way back into the game. A strong set from Riffe and senior middle blocker Haley Killeen helped the Saints make it close, but the Panthers hung on for a 25-20 win.
Seattle Prep won the second and third sets 25-21, to sweep Interlake. The loss means that the Saints will have to play the Ballard Beavers in a loser-out game at 1 p.m. on Nov. 16 at Sammamish High School. The winner of that match will face the winner of the Bellevue versus Bishop Blanchet game in a winner-to-state game at 3 p.m. later that day at Sammamish High School.
Despite the loss in the second game, Riffe said the Saints played well in both games.
“We played two really good games,” Riffe said. “(Seattle Prep) was a really good team and we fought hard, and honestly we gave it the best we could. We still have a chance at state and I’m really proud of our team.”
Riffe said a big reason for this team’s success has been its chemistry.
“We love each other,” Riffe said. “We know that every single point matters to everyone and we can do it if we work really hard. It’s like a family. We call each other family. We tell each other that we love each other all the time. It feels awesome to have people like that.”
The postseason means lots of high-pressure games against difficult opponents, something that Riffe said has been an enjoyable experience that will hopefully continue to the state tournament.
“It’s been awesome,” Riffe said. “I feel like I’ve really grown as a person in these high-pressure games and learning how to deal with the pressure and trust the people around you.”