Arlington volleyball falls short in five nailbiting games

ARLINGTON — Ultimately, Shorewood closed the deal but over three hours and a big comeback, Arlington volleyball showed that the program’s dark days are behind them.

Coming off a season in which the Eagles were winless over 16 games, Arlington opened the season with a non-conference win over Ferndale.

And despite losing 25-27, 18-25, 25-19, 25-21, 13-15 in the Sept. 18 meeting, the Eagles showed that they can score as many points as their opponents and rally from trailing two games to none. And with an almost complete rotation off the Arlington bench, the close game with Shorewood was very much a team effort.

Though the crowd thinned after game two, Arlington’s comeback rewarded fans who remained.

Both teams played with a number of errors. Hits landed out of bounds and volleys flew out of control, but as the game went on, Arlington started chipping away at their errors. Instead of letting the tough 25-27 game one loss affect morale, Arlington played one point at a time. The method paid off in game three as the girls took advantage of mistakes and what appeared to be a little exhaustion by the Shorewood team to come out to a 7-0 lead. Despite a Thunderbird rally, the Arlington lead proved too strong as hitter Amanda Bottini delivered the decisive kill. The Eagles’ hopes remained alive.

Senior hitter Bree Covey, who had 18 kills for the night, helped swing game four in Arlington’s favor. Though the girls trailed 3-0 early on, the Arlington girls responded with a 10-1 run to take the lead, thanks to three services aces by Covey. A comfortable seven-point cushion proved more than Shorewood could overcome as they tried to rally. Two and a half hours into the meeting, Arlington had evened the score with two games a piece.

While game five remained as close as the others, Shorewood pushed ahead on a 5-1 sprint and Arlington struggled to come from behind. The girls closed it to 13-14, but were unable to hold off Shorewood’s game-winning point.

“It was emotional,” said second-year coach Cari Britt. “They played their hearts out and never gave up.”

Libero Kirstin Wright, who had some great digs early in the night to keep the volleys and morale alive, clocked 52 digs on the night. Setter Kelsey Czaban had 33 assists and Kenzie Jorgensen had 12 blocks.

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