On Wednesday night, the Wildcats from Archbishop Murphy traveled to Lynnwood High School to take on the Royals in a Wesco 3A match up. With just a handful of games remaining in the season, both teams were fighting for playoff position.
Early on it was all Wildcats, as Murphy cruised to wins in the first two sets and appeared on their way to an easy three-set victory.
Lynnwood wasn’t ready to give up that easy, roaring back to win three straight sets and the match 3-2.
“I told my team that I believe in them. That if any team can do that (win three straight sets), it’s them.” Lynnwood Coach Annalise Mudaliar said when asked what she told the team huddle after losing the first two sets, 23-25 and 13-25.
Key to the Royals’ victory were two seniors — libero Kiana Pel and Riley Monan. They stepped up their defense in the final three sets against a hard-hitting Wildcats team. Pel led the team with 38 digs, while Monan added 24 of her own.
Pel also led the team with four aces, while Monan paced the Royals with 22 kills. Senior setter Ashley Anderson distributed 42 assists in the five-set match to go with 12 digs. Junior outside hitter Linh Nguyen contributed some quality play with seven kills and 18 digs.
The win was huge for the Royals, moving them into a sixth-place tie with Edmonds-Woodway in the Wesco 3A conference at 5-4. The top 10 teams from the 15-team conference will advance into the district tournament.
Archbishop Murphy dropped to 2-8 in conference and 3-8 overall, and is now in 13th place.
— Story and photos by Scott Williams