The Bellevue Bulldog volleyball team started off the 2009 season on a winning note, but the win didn’t come easy, as the team bit and clawed its way to a five-set victory over Green River.
In the final set with a 14-13 Bulldog lead, the final point of the game came off of a Green River zero out of rotation penalty, ending the match rather unceremoniously.
Green River’s points seem to come in threes, having several three point runs throughout the game. However, the team hurt itself with offensive miscues, including touching the net, being out of rotation and hitting well beyond the backline. These mistakes cost them the game both in the long run, and in the short run.
Bellevue got off to a good start in the game, taking the first two sets in quick fashion. Savannah Feist had an outstanding match, with a number of great spikes and digs that kept Bellevue College in the lead through the first half, then put the Bulldogs over the top in the last set.
The first two sets were relatively unremarkable Bulldog maulings, with the first set deceptively close at 22-25 after a big Green River comeback, then laying the smackdown in the second set with a 15-25 pounding.
The Bellevue attack was powerful and the defense at certain points resembled a brick wall, especially the combo of Hannah Fox and Veronica Wetzel. Heidi Bell put the first set away with a group of great serves, gaining Bellevue the last few points it needed.
After the second set, the game looked like it would be over early, but the Green River Gators managed to squeeze by Bellevue in the third set. The score was head to head the entire set, with the Gators only managing to pull ahead at the very end with a few nice blocks.
Green River came out of the next break fired up and ready to make a run at the comeback.
They took the lead early in the set and never lost it. The Gator defense seemed like a different team, limiting the mistakes and keeping a solid blocking group up front while making a number of digs in the back.
The fourth set was eventually lost 21-25 after a valiant Bulldog effort, but they did mount a mini rally by keeping the set close after bing down 16-23.
It was clear from the outset of the tiebreaking set that it was going to be a close and hardfought battle. Bellevue created an early lead, up 9-4 before the Gators made things interesting again and bringinging thesore to 14-13.
The Bulldog defense, which seemed lackluster during the two sets it lost, was suddenly reinvigorated, and Bellevue balls were falling in on all areas of the court.
While the Gators had the ball, the officials had a chat on the side of the court. As soon as next serve was taken, the whistle was blown and Bellevue was awarded a point (though no one realized it immediately).
Green River’s coach Kyle Densley was up in arms about the decision, and he argued the call with the officials. It wasn’t the first time he had argued an out of position call in the game, and he won one of those arguements. However, this fight was for naught, and the Gators walked out of Bulldog Arena with an opening night defeat.
While the Bulldogs may have played a bit sloppily in the middle of the game, they can be proud that they took home a win in a close, hard fought game and started the season 1-0.
Fans of the team will hope that this hard fought game was the first of many on the way to a return trip to the playoffs. Next up for the Bulldogs is a crossover tournament at home.