Knights outshine Skykomish spikers

ARLINGTON — As the senior spikers of the Highland Christian volleyball team defended their home court for the last time, the four graduating seniors couldn't hide their tearful smiles.

The feeling was evidently still with them in the first two games of their match against Skykomish, in which the teams split close games.

But after the Rockets won game two, the Highland girls seemed to channel the emotion into their game and difference was like day and night.

The Lady Knights dominated Skykomish in the final two games and won the meeting in four games, 25-20, 19-25, 25-5 and 25-13 at Haller Middle School Oct. 28.

"We got outhustled," Highland Christian coach Anthony Favors said after the match, referring to the game two that turned his team around. "We didn't want that."

Game three marked the turnaround. While errors had cost the Knights points in earlier games, the girls executed their offense proficiently, running out to a seven-point lead before Skykomish got on the board. In that time, senior hitter Chelsey Graber got two of her 12 kills and setter Aly Hodges one of her five serving aces. After a hiccup in which the Rockets added four points to Highland's one, the home team went on a 12-point run, spearheaded by sophomore Bethany Fuller's serving, which included three aces in that stretch.

Game four was competitive up to a 7-7 tie. For the next 16 serves, only one point went to Skykomish.

Three of the team's graduating seniors had statistically strong performances as the regular season winds to a close and the girls get ready for the postseason. Graber had eight aces in addition to her 12 kills while Hodges had 15 assists. Fellow senior Kaila Graber had nine digs from the back row where she was joined by eighth-grader Ella Mattson's 23 digs.

"We're on a two-game winning streak and we're peaking at the right time," Favors said, adding that he hopes to see the girls continue playing at that level.

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