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Fausko, Auburn Mountainview ready for postseason; Auburn, Auburn Riverside head for a showdown | Volleyball
First time around, it was all about Bonney Lake.
Auburn Mountainview suffered its only South Puget Sound League 3A loss of the volleyball season on Sept. 28, falling in five games to the Panthers.
But Tuesday’s rematch was different. This time, it was all about the Lions.
The visiting No. 8 Lions swept the No. 7 Panthers, with game scores of 25-12, 25-11 and 25-9. It was the Panthers’ first loss of the season.
“We really wanted some redemption this time,” said Kelsey Fausko, a 6-foot-1 senior middle hitter and returning SPSL 3A MVP, who finished with 13 kills and three aces. “This time, we took care of everything on our side much better. We worried less about them and what they were doing and much more about what we needed to work on to become a better team.”
The Lions (7-1 league, 9-3 overall) can secure a share of the SPSL title with wins against Lakes (1-5, 1-7) on Thursday (results unavailable at press time) and Decatur (0-6, 0-7) next week. Bonney Lake (6-1, 10-1) finishes against Decatur and Enumclaw (4-3, 6-6). If the teams end the regular season with identical league records, they will play a one-match playoff at a neutral site to determine the champion.
And although the schools are bitter rivals, Auburn Mountainview coach Momi Bowles credits Bonney Lake for getting her squad back on track this season.
“To be honest, I don’t think we were prepared for the (first match) like we should have been,” Bowles said. “So, lesson learned.
“It’s almost like losing to them the first time was a launch point for us,” she added. “Since then, we’ve done nothing but improve, stay humble and focused.”
A week after losing to Bonney Lake, the Lions lost in five games to seventh-ranked Puyallup from the SPSL 4A. Although Auburn Mountainview came up short in the nonleague match, Bowles called the encounter a confidence booster.
The Lions got another boost on Oct. 8-9 when they took 15th at the Spokane Crossover Classic, which featured 64 teams from Washington, Oregon, California, Montana and Idaho.
“It’s very important to us that we use the nonleague games to our advantage to get the best competition possible outside of our league,” Fausko said. “We really just try to get a good mixture of competition, so we’re not totally freaked out by the postseason competition when we face those higher level teams at district and state.”
According to Bowles, a big part of the team’s success has been the play of the Western Washington University-bound Fausko, who along with fellow senior Caitlin Carr (6-0) lead the team in kills.
“(Fausko) has been with our program three years. She knows what the program is about,” Bowles said. “When you have that type of experience in the program, it’s something you can count on.”
The Lions also have counted on the services of junior setter Sam Odren (5-11) – a returning SPSL 3A first-team performer – as well as sophomores Molly Cichosz (6-1) and Maya Williamson (6-0).
“With Molly and Maya, I feel like when the other team can key on Kelsey and Caitlin, we have two other players who can step up and have a good night,” Bowles said. “That’s going to help us down the stretch. … On any given night, Maya and Molly can step up and rack up some kills.”
The Lions are confident as they prepare for the Oct. 29 sub-district tournament.
“We’ve built on our success each game,” Fausko said. “We’ve definitely where we need to be coming into the postseason, as we step up to a higher level of teams.”
Next Tuesday’s Auburn-vs.-Auburn Riverside volleyball grudge match could have a little more than just district bragging rights riding on it. With the Ravens (3-3 SPSL North 4A, 5-6 overall) holding down a slim lead over the Trojans (2-3, 4-8) in the battle for the final playoff spot into next week’s SPSL tournament, a trip to the postseason could be on the line.
The match is 7:15 p.m. at Auburn Riverside. In the teams’ first meeting, visiting Auburn Riverside defeated Auburn 3-1.
The Trojans traveled to Jefferson (0-5, 0-6) on Thursday, while the Ravens visited Kentridge (4-2, 5-5). Scores from those matches were unavailable at press time.