TLC and Toughness From Coach Leads Falcons to Playoff Victory

  • Written by Derek Johnson

Colleen Ochs was well aware of Woodinville’s postseason drought. The 17-year old was just ten years old the last time the Falcons won a playoff match.

“My cousin was on that team,” Ochs said with a nod. “Her name is Andie Kelly. I would come and watch her play.”

But as of last Tuesday night, the drought is no more. The Woodinville Falcons overpowered the Redmond Mustangs 3-0 to advance to the Wes-King 4A Volleyball Tournament.

Volleyball2The Lady Falcons pose at mid-court after their playoff victory. (Photo by SG Photography and Video)


“It was a beautiful thing to watch!” said Woodinville coach Andrea “Hammer” Roelen.

Early in the first set, however, things looked dismal. A loss against Redmond meant the season would be over. And Woodinville now trailed 18-11. 

Roelen called a time out and gathered the girls together.

“Hey! Do you girls want to do the work NOW?” Roelen asked. “Or do you want to do it in the fourth and fifth sets when you have to come back? What do you say? LET’S DO THE WORK NOW! Give me everything you’ve got.”

The Lady Falcons walked back onto the court. Suddenly, something clicked. The lights came on with 400 watt intensity. Errors went down. Communication went up. The Falcons scored eight points in a row to take a 19-18 lead. They won the set 26-24.

Vollyball 1Woodinville’s Cate Quilantang (Photo by SG Photography and Video)

Early in the second set, there was a pause in the action. Coach Roelen stepped forward and summoned junior Zoe Friedman over to her on the sideline. Roelen cupped Friedman’s face in her hands and peered into her eyes.

“I told her she’s got to believe in herself,” Roelen said. “She’s got to know that she’s great and she’s good at what she does. She’s out there because I believe in her. And I need her to believe in her. Sometimes athletes need to hear that people believe in them to turn the corner and believe in themselves.”

Play resumed and Woodinville proceeded to roll to a 25-16 win. In the third set, Woodinville dominated and won 25-16. The Falcons took the match, 3 sets to 0.

The fired-up Lady Falcons lingered on the court to savor the moment. 

“Everybody realized we had one last chance to give everything we got,” senior Colleen Ochs said. “And if we were going to go out, we were going out with a bang. So everyone was just fearless tonight. It was cool to see us finally play like that!”
Coach Roelen singled out some players.

“Ashleigh Barker usually plays back row for us,” Roelen said. “I needed her to play outside tonight, and she absolutely stepped up. She may not have as much firepower as some, but she can absolutely put the ball on the floor. She made shots, she mixed things up… That’s a senior level class A play. I needed that, and she delivered.

“And Q and Ochs,” Roelen said, referring to Cate Quilantang and Colleen Ochs. “They played great as well. Zoe [Friedman] spread the offense a lot, made smart decisions. Ah! I can speak about every one of them. Everybody contributed.  

“I know they can do it, but they need to know they can do it,” Roelen added. “I wanted them to play with conviction and heart. And they did it! And getting the W? It’s the cherry on the top!”

“Coach Hammer” then left no doubts as to her nickname. With a beaming smile, she began pounding a reporter on the back. “THANKS

Woodinville advanced to play Eastlake at Monroe High School last Saturday afternoon. Check for results.

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