After losing the first two sets, the seniors on the Lake Washington volleyball team weren’t ready to see their season end in the 3A KingCo league tournament against Mercer Island on Nov. 7.
The Kangs won the last three sets to beat the Islanders 3-2 (18-25, 19-25, 25-19, 25-18, 15-13) to finish third in the tournament and secure a spot at the 3A Sea-King district tournament.
“We were really frustrated with the first two sets,” Lake Washington senior middle blocker Makena Smith said. “We really had to shake it off. This whole season we’ve worked hard to get where we are. The seniors knew this couldn’t be our last game.”
Lake Washington head coach Alyssa Flowers said she had never seen her team play with so much heart, rallying behind their seniors.
“I’m shaking a little bit, I almost cried when we ran out there,” Flowers said. “I don’t know if I’ll make it the whole night without crying. I’m feeling really excited and so proud. Last year, we won three games, this year, we won 10 and have the opportunity to continue on to districts.”
After struggling in the first two sets, the Kangs won the third and fourth sets convincingly to force a deciding fifth set. Smith said the team fed off of their energy.
“I think all of us get so excited after every point, especially in the last set when it’s so close,” Smith said. “Everyone is yelling and everyone is out of their seats. It’s really cool to watch. I was really nervous, literally shaking. I knew if we lost, it would be my last game, and I couldn’t let that be my last game.”
In the fifth set, the Kangs jumped out to a 7-3 lead, but the Islanders fought back to tie the set up at 11. The Kangs managed to pull back ahead and win the set 15-13.
Flowers said making it to districts was one of the goals the team set at the beginning of the season.
“Our first goal was a winning season, and the next was to make it past this stage and ultimately state,” Flowers said. “So we’re on our way. Check mark.”
Lake Washington will begin the district tournament against the No. 6 seed out of the Metro conference in a loser-out game on Nov. 14 at Lakeside High School.
“We have a lot of good players and we’ve been excited all year,” Smith said. “I think we’re going to do great at districts this year.”