Prep volleyball: Lynnwood shuts out Shorecrest, remains unbeaten

Lynnwood’s Charlie Thomas (far right) and Hannah Johnson (center) cheer on teammate Abbie Orr at Tuesday’s match.
The Royals’ Abbie Orr (left) celebrates a point with teammate Ady Morgan during the Lynnwood-Shorecrest match Tuesday.
Lynnwood junior Sammy Holmer serves against Shorecrest on Tuesday.
The Royals’ Hannah Johnson (center) spikes a kill shot past the Highlanders’ Emmeline Koening (right) and toward Ally Johnson on Tuesday at Shorecrest High School.
(From left): Lynnwood’s Sammy Holmer, Ady Morgan, Makena Kaleo, Evangeline Sum, Charlie Thomas and Jordyn Higa celebrate a point during the match Tuesday.
Shorecrest’s Ava Watson (lower left) gets pressured at the net by Lynnwood’s Hannah Johnson (left) and Sammy Holmer on Tuesday.

The Lynnwood Royals raced through the first half of the 2023 volleyball season unscathed, not only going undefeated in eight matches but without dropping a single set in any of those contests.

The win total climbed to eight, including victories over very good squads from Shorewood, Arlington and Jackson. But next, could Lynnwood conquer their biggest challenge of the year so far: a road matchup against another undefeated team in the Shorecrest Highlanders?

In a performance Lynnwood coach Annalise Mudaliar called “gutsy,” the Royals kept their perfect record intact and thumped the Highlanders 3-0 (27-25, 25-8, 25-22) in a big 3A Wesco League matchup Tuesday at Shorecrest High School.

“This one felt good; this was a good one,” Lynnwood senior Charlie Thomas said after the victory.

The win keeps Lynnwood’s unbeaten streak alive, lifting their Wesco League mark to 7-0 and their overall record to 9-0. The Highlanders dropped to 6-1 in league play, 8-1 overall.

Mudaliar said she was pleased not only for the Royals’ win but with the high-level of volleyball that both teams played on Tuesday.

“It was awesome; it was just great volleyball,” Mudaliar said. “Both teams really wanted it. So when you have two teams that have good talent and they’re well coached, they come in, they play hard, they’re leaving it all out on the court. So they’re (giving that) second effort, they’re diving, they’re getting excited, the intensity is there. So when you have that emotion and the talent behind it it makes for fun volleyball. And that’s what it was.”

“I’m glad we came out on the winning side but it was fun, just really good volleyball,” she added.

Although winning in straight sets, the match was hardly a cakewalk for Lynnwood. The first set included four lead changes and 12 ties, the final one at 25-25 before the Royals secured the final two points of the set on a Sammy Holmer kill and a misplay by Shorecrest.

The Royals did find the second set a much easier go, jumping out to an early 8-3 lead then later going on a 13-0 run on their way to a 25-8 set win.

Shorecrest rebounded in the third set and led 12-9 midway through before the Royals went on a 14-5 run to take control. The Highlanders tried to mount a late comeback, pulling to within a point at 23-22. But Lynnwood scored the final two points of the match, ending it with an emphatic block by Holmer.

“It felt great to end on that,” Holmer said of her game-ending block of a spike attempt by Shorecrest’s Ava Watson.

Holmer led the Royals with 12 kills; the junior also had six digs, five aces and two blocks.

Mudaliar said she believed that her team may have been a little too hyped up going into the highly anticipated matchup but is now better off having overcome their early jitters.

“We came in, I think, a little over-amped,” she said. “But just when we settled down and kind of got into the groove, we played really gutsy, second effort, like, hard volleyball. And it was just a gutsy win.”

“I loved that it was competitive,” Mudaliar said. “I loved that we had a little bit of adversity and that we had to find our way back in. Because we haven’t had a lot of come-from-behind matches.”

“And so that first set there was a little bit of like, individual v-ball of just wanting to do my part,” Mudaliar said. “And then once we settled in it was good for us to see that when we come together we’re stronger together and we can face adversity together. And it’s just one point at a time; you just can’t look too far ahead. And that’s what they did.”

With eight matches remaining in the regular season, the Royals control their own destiny when it comes to a possible 3A Wesco League championship and a top seed in the postseason District 1 tournament. The team is also ranked No. 1 in the current WIAA 3A state RPI rankings and may be among the favorites to win the 3A state title in November.

Mudaliar said she likes both the work ethic and the focus of her squad as the team enters the second half of the season.

“We have a really special group of girls,” she explained. “They want it; they’re never satisfied. And so they know the things we need to work on; they’re task-oriented. But they also just have a lot of fun together. And they’re fun is competing and playing hard and making that effort for each other. They’re best friends off the court, best friends on the court.”

“And so for us (coaches), we don’t look too far ahead,” Mudaliar said. “I know people talk about rankings, they talk about stuff — we really don’t care about that. We literally worry about the match that we’re playing and the next man up.”

Next up for the Royals is an Oct. 5 match at home against the Cascade; first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.


Lynnwood 3, Shorecrest 0 (27-25, 25-8, 25-22)

Top Lynnwood performers:

– Sammy Holmer, 12 kill

– Hannah Johnson, 8 blocks

– Charlie Thomas, 32 assists, 11 digs

Records: Lynnwood 7-0 3A Wesco League, 9-0 overall; Shorecrest 6-1 3A Wesco League, 8-1 overall

Lynnwood next game: versus Cascade; 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5

— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski

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