Cecilia Licciardi, number 9, goes up for the kill.
After 20 years of waiting, the Vikings can call themselves Wesco North Volleyball Champs. It all started on Monday when Lake Stevens defeated Marysville (3-0) to enter into a three way tie for first place with Monroe and Snohomish.
The Vikings came out on Monday’s first set against Marysville with fire and determination. Gaining an early 7-1 Viking lead, the Tomahawks took their first time out to try and stop the damage caused by the Vikings.
But middle blocker, McKayla Huntley, answered back with a blocked kill, adding another point to the Viking lead. Marysville tried to make a run on the Vikings, but their defense was no match for senior hitters, Abigail Molstre and Cecelia Licciardi who killed throughout the set to contribute to the 25-19 win.
As the second set began, the Vikings found themselves down by 3 points, but with Kylie Hall scoring on the kill and Nicole Carroll’s indomitable serving, the Vikings powered ahead to gain the lead. Points rallied back and forth until the Vikings found themselves down by one.
After a Lake Stevens time out, sophomore outside hitter, Kendall Swanson, hit hard with a back corner kill to tie the score at 20 all. The Vikings rallied to win 25-22.
The Vikings didn’t let another early Tomahawk lead in the third set rattle their confidence. Lake Stevens pushed hard until they had a four-point lead. The lead continued to exchange hands until the Vikings made one final charge to victory with help from middle blocker Abigail Molstre and outside hitter Cecelia Liccardi, winning 25-22.
On Wednesday, Monroe, Snohomish and Lake Stevens began the day all tied for first place, each with a 7-2 record. But by the end of the night, Lake Stevens would defeat Monroe (3-1) and end up as Wesco North Champs sharing the spotlight with Snohomish, both with an 8-2 record.
Lake Stevens would take the number one seed going into postseason play as a result of tiebreaker procedures that took place prior to the beginning of the season.
Wednesday was “Senior Night” at the last home game of the season and the Lake Stevens Band, Superfans, Cheerleaders and numerous friends and family packed the Lake Stevens gym to cheer on its team.
All five seniors Molstre, Liccardi, Hall, Carroll and Lamberty would start together on the court one last time, but due to a knee injury which occurred earlier in the week, Lamberty could only play one point and would need to be sidelined for the remainder of the game.
Pumped up by the support, the Vikings were swift with their points and jumped out to an 8-2 lead. Clearly frazzled, Monroe took a time out to try and build a momentum, but the Lake Stevens offense would not allow it.
With blocking and kill help from seniors Molstre and Hall, the Vikings were able to shut down the Bearcats, winning the first set 25-17.
A back and forth battle was the theme of set number two with both teams exchanging a 2-3 point lead throughout. After a few last minute Viking mistakes, Monroe won 23-25.
The third set started much like the first, with Lake Stevens taking control of the game and an early lead, but Monroe fought back to tie the score at 9 all.
With big kills and service aces from senior Hall the Vikings gained their lead and momentum. Monroe tried to rally, but sophomore setter Drivdahl placed the ball into the skilled hands of her hitters and the Vikings ran away with the win, overpowering Monroe 25-15.
It was a “do or die” situation for Monroe in the fourth set. The Bearcats came out for a win and with a few Lake Stevens mistakes they took a fast 10 point lead. But Lake Stevens was not finished and would not quit.
The Vikings rallied back to within five points and at 18-23 Monroe was forced to take a time out to try and stop the Lake Stevens drive. The Vikings dug deep and came back to win the fourth set 25-23.
Wednesday night’s game against Monroe was a triumphant ending to a season filled with long practices, morning workouts and competitive matches. The Vikings haven’t won a title since 1991. “It’s been a long time coming for Lake Stevens volleyball,” Vikings head coach Amy Wiklund said. “My girls are super excited for this. They have been working their tails off all year. I feel like these girls have played through some adversity this season. They’ve got some confidence and hopefully that will carry them through the top side of the bracket rather than the (consolation) side. I’m excited.”