With a berth in the Class 3A state volleyball tournament on the line, the Mercer Island Islanders came through in the clutch against their biggest rival.
The Islanders registered a 3-1 (25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17) victory against the Bellevue Wolverines in a winner-to-state, loser-out volleyball match in the Class 3A Sea-King tournament on Nov. 4 at Sammamish High School in Bellevue. The Islanders, who clinched the No. 5 seed out of their district at the state tournament on Nov. 10-11, defeated the Wolverines four times during the 2017 season. Bellevue head coach Vance Kalingo was gracious in defeat. The Wolverines compiled an overall record of 16-7 during the 2017 season.
“Mercer Island had our number all year. The better team won today but we gave it our best shot,” Kalingo said. “The girls fought hard. It was a really stacked KingCo and Sea-King district. It is just tough. You got to bring your “A” game every single point.”
Kalingo said this year’s team had a wealth of experience. The Wolverines had eight seniors and four juniors on the varsity roster.
“In the end, they put the best product out on the court,” Kalingo said of his squad. “I’m really proud of the girls.”
Mercer Island head coach Susan Rindlaub admitted she was concerned before the match against Bellevue began.
“To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to playing them again because Bellevue is a really good team and its hard to beat the same team four times in one season,” Mercer Island head coach Susan Rindlaub said. “This is the best we’ve played all year. We had to raise our game and we did. I’m so proud of them. They are so confident, have so much energy and play the game together. It was really cool.”
Mercer Island senior outside hitter Kelly Behrbaum was glad her team was able to register a victory against a formidable Bellevue squad.
“We’ve worked so hard for this and to be able to win against such a good team as them is amazing. There was a lot of pressure but we all trust each other a ton. We were really just genuinely excited to play (this match),” Behrbaum said.