The Kentwood Conquerors took down the Federal Way High School Eagles on Oct. 19 inside the Eagles’ gym, where the volleyball match went to a fourth set — the second time this season that any of their matches had gone more than three sets.
Kentwood got out to an early fast start on the Eagles, taking the first set, 25-14. The Conqs’ never trailed by a single point in the first set. Kentwood was showing why they were inside the top 20 in the latest Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings. Federal Way came into this match 20 spots behind the Conquerors at the 39th spot.
The second set was a bit more competitive. Kentwood still prevailed in the end with the score 25-19. Federal Way was creeping back in toward the end of the set and gained a lot of momentum going into the third set. But there was a big hill to climb against a club that had only dropped one previous match this season.
Down two sets to none, Federal Way seemingly did the impossible against all odds — they won their first set against a staunch Conquerors team. The game was back and forth all the way from the start. With the score tied 24-24, Federal Way won the next two consecutive points, ending the game with the score of 26-24. Federal Way seemed to have all the momentum, and they seemed to believe in each other, and the crowd believed in them too.
With Federal Way bringing Kentwood to their second match of more than three sets, they couldn’t stop the inevitable. The majority of the fourth set had the same makeup as the third. There was a lot of intensity on both sides and in the stands with the points going back and forth. Kentwood was up toward the end of the match with the score 21-22, but Federal Way was storming back.
Coach Kayla Hanus called a timeout to slow down the Eagles. She didn’t elect to do so in the previous set when a similar situation had presented itself. Hanus took her girls in the huddle and reiterated their motto “Confidence is contagious.” When they get in those high pressure situations, keeping their confidence high really helps elevate their play and keeps them focused, Hanus said. Right after the time out, Kentwood nullified the Federal Way run and finished the game, winning 25-23.
The victory put the Conquerors back in the win column after their first conference loss of the season. It was important for them to have a short memory from that defeat, and Hanus had a slogan for that defeat too: “It was a slice of humble pie that I felt we needed.”