On Senior Night, the Wesco 3A fourth-place Lynnwood Royals played host to the third-place Snohomish Panthers in what was scheduled to be the final regular season match of the season for the Royals. The Panthers won the best of five match, 3 games to 1 in a very competitive affair.
Snohomish controlled much of the first set, winning it 25-17.
The second set saw the two teams battle back and forth the entire game, with neither team having a lead larger than three points. Midway through, Lynnwood went on a 3-0 run to give them a 16-14 lead that forced a Snohomish Time out. Out of that break, the Panthers went on a 3-0 run of their own to regain the lead 17-16. They Royals used some impressive defense, digging out several Snohomish would be kills, to extend that to 22-19 before another Panther time out. They hung on down the stretch and took the set, 25-22, tying the match at one set a piece.
Play in the third set continued to be just as competitive as the second set. Trailing 8-9, Snohomish would score four straight points forcing the sixth lead change of the game and taking a 12-9 lead. The Royals battled back with the seventh lead change to go ahead 20-17. Snohomish wasn’t finished. They would score four unanswered points and take control of the match. The teams continued to trade points in the final moments of the game before the Panthers would record a 25-23 set victory, and a 2-1 Match lead.
That game saw the teams trade leads a total of ten times, without either team taking a lead of more than three points. The difference in the match to that point was the strong defensive play in the middle for the Panthers by 6-foot-1 senior middle blocker Roz Gillie, who made it hard for Royals hitters to get clean kills.
Snohomish jumped on the Royals early in the fourth set, taking a quick 6-1 lead before a Lynnwood time out. The Royals did not give up, clawing their way back to within three points at 12-15. On the following serve, they gave it right back to the Panthers with one of several service errors in the set. Snohomish added four more points to take a 21-16 lead before Lynnwood took their final time out. That’s when Gillie took over for the Panthers, recording two monstrous blocks before taking a set from Claire Turner and crushing it for the final kill of the match to end the Royals night.
As the standings looked coming into the night, a Lynnwood loss wouldn’t have had much effect on their 4th seed position going into the district playoffs. However, the Royals were notified before the match that there had been a protest filed in relation to their match at Shorewood that took place on Oct. 19. The protest forces the Royals to travel to Shorewood for a replay of the match against the Thunderbirds on Thursday, Oct. 26. If they win, then they retain the 4th seed and go onto District playoff games next Tuesday, Oct. 31. If they lose, Edmonds-Woodway gets the 4th seed and Lynnwood will be forced to play a loser-out, play-in game on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Lynnwood was led by Riley Monan with 16 kills and 21 digs, followed by Meghan Spears with 8 kills, while Abby Douglas pitched in 7 of her own. Kiana Pel had 28 digs, while Leia Abiador added 16.
Gillie Led the Panthers with 15 kills and 7 blocks. Outside hitter, Natalie Stern recorded 11 kills, 16 digs, and 4 service aces. Claire Turner added 25 assists from her setter position to go with 11 digs.
Lynnwood (7-4 in Wesco 3A Conference, 7-6 overall) will return to action in a protest replay match at Shorewood High School on Thursday, Oct. 26. The match start time is still to be determined.
Snohomish (9-3 in Wesco 3A Conference, 11-3 overall) will next see action on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at home in an opening round District Playoff game against an as yet to be determined opponent. That match will start at 7 p.m. at Snohomish High School.
–Story and photos by Scott Williams