Kenshin Humphrey steps toward the net and blasts a volley between Everett’s Justus West and Rhys Wells-Edwards.
“Good shot,” doubles partner Shintaro Wilcox said has they slapped rackets during their 6-0, 6-2 victory Thursday.
It was an understatement, of course. The duo’s match was filled with acrobatic shots slicing between the pair of Seagulls.
“Kenshin feeds off Shintaro’s energy, and he’s aggressive at the net,” head coach Sean Cunningham said. “They both are super fast at the net, very reactive with volleys and overheads, and they can overwhelm an opponent. You have to own the net. It’s crucial to push the other team away from the net.”
Their win was one of many last week as the Spartans topped Marysville-Pilchuck 4-3 on Sept. 25 and swept Everett 7-0 on Sept. 26 to improve to 3-0 in league and 4-2-overall. However, Stanwood faces a pair of tough home tests against Arlington (3-0, 5-3) on Tuesday and Snohomish (2-0, 4-4) on Wednesday.
“I think we’re all evenly matched,” Cunningham said of Stanwood, Arlington and Snohomish. “It’s going to be a great test. A great battle. We just got to go out there and play our game.”
It comes on the heels of another great battle: Spartan doubles team of Huston Rawls and Liam Cunningham lost a grueling game to Marysville-Pilchuck in an exhausting third set 22-20.
“I’ve never had a tiebreaker go that far,” Cunningham said. “It was an unusual match. Very evenly matched. We could have won it.”
While they lost their game, the Spartans edged the Tommies 4-3 to help set up this week’s showdowns. Stanwood wraps up the week with a trip Thursday to Oak Harbor to complete three matches in three days.
- Sept. 25: Stanwood 4, Marysville Pilchuck 3 — Singles: Parker Devereaux (M) def. Shintaro Wilcox (6-0, 6-1); Morgan Zill (S) def. Carson Asper (6-1, 6-1); Preston Pierce (S) def. Trae Tingelstad (6-2, 6-2); Cody Vail (S) def. Davis Magee (6-1, 6-2). Doubles: Aaron Kalab/Treven Southard (M) def. Jonah Grierson/Chase Larkin (6-2, 6-0); Dawson Coe/Jake Sulya (M) def. Huston Rawls/Liam Cunningham (3-6, 7-5, 22-20); Dylan Link/Kade Getzinger (S) def. Alex Nyblod/Jaxon Petermeyer (6-0, 6-3)
- Sept. 26: Stanwood 7, Everett 0 — Singles: Morgan Zill (S) def. Aaron Robertson (6-3, 6-3); Preston Pierce (S) def. Grant Mueller (6-0, 6-2); Cody Vail (S) def. Kyoshi Colon (6-0, 6-1); Jonah Grierson (S) def. Ryotaro Colon (6-2, 6-2). Doubles: Shintaro Wilcox/Kenshin Humphrey (S) def. Justus West/Rhys Wells-Edwards (6-0, 6-2); Kade Getzinger/Chase Larkin (S) def. Chris Raynor/Codi Legoe (6-3, 6-0); Huston Rawls/Liam Cunningham (S) def. Devon Dody/Bryce Magbag (6-3, 6-2).
Improving Spartan volleyball squad push league win streak to 4
The Spartans are carving out an identity as they continue to carve up opponents.
“We’re fighters,” sophomore setter Grace Henken said. “We’re still learning who we are as a team, but if we stay positive, stay focused and keep fighting harder, we’ll be fine.”
Winners of four league games in a row, Stanwood (4-1) fell to the hosts in bracket play at the 12-team Reach the Peak tournament Saturday in Glacier Peak.
“It was a pretty good day all-in-all, but we are learning,” head coach Megan Amundson said. “I have a team full of perfectionists, so when things hit us poorly, we have to learn how to work out of it.”
On Sept. 24, the Spartans outlasted Meadowdale in a tit-for-tat battle to win 3-1 (27-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22). Many of the points saw multiple rallies, lasting up to a minute and exhausting the players while whipping the home crowd into a frenzy.
“It was a tough match,” a breathless Henken said afterward. “We were working hard. Stayed with it. When we were down, we kept fighting and fighting and fighting.”
The setter tallied 40 assists, 16 digs and three aces. Madison Morgan added five aces, 18 kills and 15 digs; Lili Jones had 11 kills and a block; Barrett Anderson had an ace, six kills and 16 digs; Baylor Hezel collected 38 digs, an ace and four kills; and Leia Jones tallied eight kills and six digs.
“It was a tough match, we matched up with Meadowdale pretty well,” Amundson said. “To have that many long rallies is unique. I think they did pretty well. Stayed patient. That was kind of our first big test on long rallies and our conditioning.”
On Sept. 26, the Spartans left Cedarcrest with a 3-0 sweep, winning sets of 25-17, 25-14 and 25-21.
“We held our composure and played our game during the first two sets,” Amundson said. “In the third, we got caught up in slower play. We just weren’t able to finish the set they way we wanted to.”
Stanwood was led by Jones (One ace, 10 kills), Hezel (four aces, nine digs), Henken (two aces, three kills, 32 assists), Jones (two kills, six digs), Morgan (three aces, 15 kills, 14 digs), Greta Hendrickson (three aces, five digs) and Leila Barmore (five kills).
Stanwood hosts Shorecrest on Tuesday, which is young Spartan night when youth get in for free. The Spartans then host Lynnwood on Thursday for Aloha Night with a Hawaiian theme.
“They are improving each day as they are learning how to work together as a team,” she said of her young squad. “We’re finally getting them to buy into the learning process. That’s huge because our stretch during the second half of the season is going to be tough.
“They’re just starting to see what they can be,” she said.