By Kevin Johnson
The Monroe Bearcats volleyball team proved just why they’re undefeated in league play.
Monroe clinched its fourth Wesco North Division title in five years with a thrilling 25-13, 24-26, 27-25, 25-19 victory over the Lake Stevens Vikings on Oct. 23, earning the division’s No. 1 seed heading into this week’s 4A District 1 tournament.
Behind the leadership and determination of senior Captain Melina Seabrook (18 kills, 13 digs) the ‘Cats cruised to victory in the first set, opening up the night on a 8-0 start, closed it out in the fourth set in dominating style, and in between showed resilience and toughness that teams need once they reach the postseason.
“It’s great. These seniors really deserved it. They’ve worked really hard,” Monroe Head Coach April Munoz said about the ‘Cats earning the No. 1 seed.
Starting all seniors and using the pregame energy from Senior Night, the ‘Cats rolled to a 25-13 first-set win.
“In the first game we played all our seniors; they had so much adrenaline going that they came out on fire. We struggled to get the energy back up (in the second set); once they did, then they were fine,” Munoz said.
Lake Stevens jumped to an 11-4 lead in the second set before Bearcat hard-hitting junior Mia Adams settled in to serve, rallying the ‘Cats to seven straight points and cutting the Vikings deficit to 11-10.
The ‘Cats continued to scratch at the Vikings, eventually tying the score at 21-21, taking their first lead at 22-21, and opening up a 24-21 lead, thanks to an intense rally between the two clubs that was finished by a flying Seabrook spike.
“She plays with so much heart. She’s an excellent athlete but she has twice as much heart. She gives it her all, every second,” Munoz said of Seabrook.
Lake Stevens fought back, finishing off the second set with four straight points to tie the match at 1-1.
The Vikings second set momentum carried Lake Stevens to a strong third set start but Monroe put together a 6-0 run, taking a 9-6 lead.
After a 12-12 tie the teams would trade points until Monroe eventually took a lead that it held until Lake Stevens tied it at 24-24 and took a 25-24 lead.
Facing a set point and a possible 2-1 hole in the match, the ‘Cats rallied for three straight points and their own 2-1 lead.
What was Seabrook thinking?
“Every point counts. We just have to push through and think about our game on our side of the court,” the captain said.
Monroe never trailed in the final set, led by kills from juniors Diedra Miller and Paige Payseno, and the ‘Cats cruised to the 25-19 victory.
“It feels great; best way to end our season at home,” Seabrook said.