The room for error is of the smallest of margins when facing the Bellarmine Prep volleyball team this season.
One slip and the defending Class 4A state champions will turn a tight match into a lopsided affair.
Paced by Courtney Schwan, top-ranked Bellarmine Prep capped the regular season with a sweep of the Bears, 25-21, 25-20, 25-10, in 4A Narrows League play Tuesday at Olympia High School.
Olympia was in the match throughout, but the Lions looked every bit the team favored to successfully defend its crown.
“You make any kind of mistake with the ball out there and they will clean up,” Olympia coach Laurie Creighton said. “I thought we did a nice job tonight. We had a couple of chances to put some points together and just weren’t able to do that.”
The Lions will be the top seed in the 4A Narrows tournament, which will be held Saturday at
Mount Tahoma High School.
Olympia, which placed fourth at state last year and were 4A state champions in 2011, could be the league tournament’s second seed but will need Gig Harbor to lose to South Kitsap Wednesday as the Tides hold the tiebreaker over the Bears.
“We’re starting to piece things together,” Creighton said. “I’ve had to change up lineups multiple times. The entire team was sick about a month ago. We just got (setter) Kayla Thaller back tonight. We are just going to try and live our mantra, which is finish strong.” Creighton also mentioned she couldn’t use setter Julia Fleener after Fleener dislocated her finger during prematch warmups.
The West Central District tournament will be held Nov. 8-9 at Kentlake High School. Winners will advance to the state tournament Nov. 15-16 at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey.
Olympia opened the match with a 7-4 lead but fell victim to a 5-0 run by Bellarmine Prep.
The Bears immediately answered with a 5-0 run of their own, capped by a kill from Hannah Adams, which reclaimed the lead for Olympia, 12-9.
The Lions posted two more 5-0 runs, the second run highlighted by a pair of Schwan kills, giving Bellarmine Prep a 19-14 advantage. A kill followed by an ace from outside hitter Reghan Pukis ended the first set in favor of the Lions.
In the second set, Bellarmine Prep was able to string together large runs of 6-0 and 8-0.
The second run, which featured a pair of aces from Lindsay Schelbert, doubled up the Bears at 16-8. The Lions’ lead grew to 23-14 on a Schwan kill before Olympia rallied behind the play of Adams and Hannah St. Jean.
St. Jean’s fifth kill of the set got the Bears to 20-24, but Emily Newberry’s kill ended it, 25-20.
The Bears seemed to run out of steam in the third set as Bellarmine used a 10-0 run to take an 18-6 lead. Schwan, who has orally committed to the University of Washington, tallied three consecutive kills to increase the Lions’ advantage to 24-10.