High School Sports

State volleyball primer: Top teams, players and breakdowns of the high school volleyball championships

Tides co-captain Lauren Hatfield (11) spikes the ball for a point during the Gig Harbor (5-1 SSC 3A) vs Capital (6-0 SSC 3A) volleyball match Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Gig Harbor High School. This is a 1st vs 2nd place matchup that the Tides win 3-1.
Tides co-captain Lauren Hatfield (11) spikes the ball for a point during the Gig Harbor (5-1 SSC 3A) vs Capital (6-0 SSC 3A) volleyball match Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Gig Harbor High School. This is a 1st vs 2nd place matchup that the Tides win 3-1. dmontesino@thenewstribune.com

2017 WIAA VOLLEYBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

CLASS 4A

Friday-Saturday, Toyota Center, Kennewick

Tickets: Single day — $11 adults, $9 students/senior citizens. Full tournament — $20 adults, $16 students/senior citizens.

2016 champion: Auburn Riverside def. Mead, 3-0

Friday’s first round: 11:30 a.m.— Graham-Kapowsin vs. Lake Stevens, court 1; Richland vs. Emerald Ridge, court 2; Skyline vs. Auburn Riverside, court 3; Puyallup vs. West Valley of Yakima, court 4. 1:30 p.m. — Jackson vs. Tahoma, court 1; Walla Walla vs. Curtis, court 2; Kennedy Catholic vs. Eastlake, court 3; Eastmont vs. Mead, court 4.

Remainder of schedule: Friday quarterfinals at 8:15 p.m.; Saturday semifinals at 1 p.m.; Saturday championship match at 7 p.m.

LOCAL TEAMS

Auburn Riverside: A 3A state title in 2014, a third-place 3A finish in 2015 and a 4A state title last year? The top-ranked Ravens (19-1) return to the Toyota Center loaded and looking for another trophy. They’re led by two-time TNT All-Area player of the year Calley Heilborn, a Western Washington University signee, and two-time All-Area selection Ciera Zimmerman, a Colorado State signee.

Curtis: After a tremendous run in the state tournament, which was capped by a state championship in 2015, the Vikings came up short last postseason – though they did knock off state-favorite West Valley of Yakima in the first round. The Vikings (17-4) bounced back with a 2017 SPSL regular season to remember, led by libero Kasey Woodruff (a WWU signee), middle blocker Sarah Randall and outside hitter Katie Yorke.

Emerald Ridge: The Jaguars (18-3) are on the cusp of yet another run through the state tournament. ER is led by this year’s 4A SPSL MVP, Kava Durr, a Colorado State commit who has the fourth-most kills in the state with 389 kills, 209 digs and 55 blocks and setter Jadyn Mullen, who broke her own school single-season record with 1,011 assists. They’re hoping to make their third appearance in the state title in the past four years.

Graham-Kapowsin: The Eagles are looking for a breakthrough. For the past two years, the state tournament has not been kind to the Eagles (12-8), and the best they’ve finished was sixth in 2009. With Peyton Foster, who had 17.2 kills, 13.3 digs and 1.8 blocks per match, coach Loni Parks has this team thinking of a deep run.

Kennedy Catholic: For the Lancers (15-4), Malia Aleaga, a three-time first team all-division senior, is one of the few holdovers from the Lancers’ 2015 3A state title team and her father, Ink Aleaga, is a former UW football player and was an assistant coach for Kennedy’s football team this year. Malia Aleaga, a setter and captain, averages 7.9 assists per set.

Puyallup: For the first time since the 2007-08 season, the Vikings went winless in the state tournament last year. However, with senior leadership and all-league selections such as setter Anna Saelens (Northwest University signee) and standout outside hitters in Tatyana Utley and Kaitlin Sugai (Eastern signee), the Vikings (17-4) certainly have the pieces to make a run.

Tahoma: The Bears (11-7) have a strong returning group of seniors in Emily Smith and Patience O’Neal. They both earned first-team 4A NPSL Cascade firs-team all-league honors, along with junior outside hitter Paige Anthony. They helped the Bears finish third behind Auburn Riverside and Emerald Ridge at the district tournament.

CLASS 3A

Friday-Saturday, Toyota Center, Kennewick

Tickets: Single day — $11 adults, $9 students/senior citizens. Full tournament — $20 adults, $16 students/senior citizens.

2016 champion: Lakeside of Seattle def. Mt. Spokane, 3-0.

Friday’s first round: 8 a.m. — Prairie vs. Roosevelt, court 1; North Thurston vs. Mt. Spokane, court 2; Stanwood vs. Holy Names Academy, court 3; Mercer Island vs. Gig Harbor, court 4. 9:45 a.m. — Eastside Catholic vs. Timberline, court 1; Stadium vs. Ferndale, court 2; Southridge vs. Lakeside of Seattle, court 3; Snohomish vs. Capital, court 4.

Remainder of schedule: Friday quarterfinals at 5 p.m.; Saturday semifinals at 1 p.m.; Saturday championship match at 7 p.m.

LOCAL TEAMS

Capital: The Cougars (17-1) returned most of the players from last season’s squad, which finished fourth, and haven’t lost a match since early October. Sophomore outside hitter Maia Nichols (167 kills) plays all around, while senior setter Tia Grow (299 assists) and senior libero Elise Meath (250 digs) are proven.

Gig Harbor: The Tides (16-3) reached the state quarterfinals last year and are back for more. Outside hitter Lauren Hatfield enters with 283 kills and a first-team 3A SSC all-league honor. She’s flanked on the other outside by Hannah Yerex, and libero Lindsey Skaanes (337 digs).

North Thurston: Two losses to league foes Gig Harbor and Timberline to round out the district tournament landed North Thurston in the same spot it was last season — staring down a first-round matchup with Mt. Spokane, last season’s eventual runners-up. Freshman Addie Robertson (273 kills) has notched over half of the kills in each match the Rams have played this season, and sophomore libero Lauren Porter (512 digs) is a solid presence.

Timberline: The Blazers ended a two-year state playoff drought last season behind former Olympian All-Area player of the year Julianna Salanoa (now a middle blocker at New Mexico State), and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Lakeside. This season, the Blazers (12-6) finished third in the 3A SSC, and third at the district tournament.

Stadium: The Tigers are here for the first time since the 2010-11 season, and they head to Kennewick led by two seniors, a junior, and five sophomores. One of those seniors is all-league pick Riley Clark (261 assists). Mia Naccarato was right behind her with 150. Sophomore Mia Hall leads Stadium with 128 kills and 42 blocks.

CLASS 2A

Friday-Saturday, Saint Martin’s University, Lacey

Tickets: Single day — $10 adults, $8 students/senior citizens. Full tournament — $18 adults, $14 students/senior citizens.

2016 champion: Tumwater def. Woodland, 3-0.

Friday’s first round: 9 a.m. — East Valley of Spokane vs. Sehome, court 1; Washington vs. Ridgefield, court 2; Lynden vs. North Kitsap, court 3. 11 a.m. — Tumwater vs. Pullman, court 1; Selah vs. Fife, court 2; Kingston vs. Burlington-Edison, court 3. 1 p.m. — Black Hills vs. White River, court 1; Liberty of Issaquah vs. Ellensburg, court 3.

Remainder of schedule: Friday quarterfinals at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Saturday semifinals at 12:30 p.m.; Saturday championship match at 5 p.m.

LOCAL TEAMS

Black Hills: The Wolves advanced to the state playoffs for six straight seasons between 2006-11, but missed the past five trips — until now. Led by first-team 2A Evergreen Conference selections, junior middle blocker Hannah Rongen and senior libero Emma Goodman, Black Hills (12-5) finished second in its league before shutting out Washougal and Hockinson on its way to appearing in the 2A Southwest District tournament title game.

Fife: The Trojans (15-2) are back after finishing eighth a year ago. Its only losses have been against White River (twice) and in the district title against North Kitsap. Fife is led by middle blocker Madison Licari and 6-foot-1 senior setter Annika Linden.

Tumwater: An injury has star outside hitter and Gonzaga signee Kennedy Croft (250 kills) playing libero for the rest of the season, but that hasn’t rattled the state’s reigning Gatorade Player of the Year. With 260 digs (including 87 during the district tournament), she still helped lead the T-Birds in their 23rd state tournament appearance. The defending state champs have advanced to the state playoffs 12 of the past 13 seasons.

Washington: The Patriots (13-7) last reached state in 2013 and are hoping to maybe redo some of the magic of the 1977-78 season when they won the state title. They have seven appearances since, but were unable to come away with a top placement.

White River: How prepared will the fourth-ranked Hornets be? Coach Lina Randall had two-time Olympian Courtney Thompson stop by their practice on Thursday before they head to Saint Martin’s. Keegan Strobeck, the team’s senior outside hitter, is “Straight Outta C-team,” leading White River with 239 kills and committed to North Idaho College, setter Hope Baldyga has 508 assists and Megan Vandegrift, who signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to play softball at UW, has 209 digs.

CLASS 1A STATE TOURNAMENT

Friday-Saturday at Yakima SunDome

LOCALS

Charles Wright: The Tarriers (11-4) have had a promising season behind University of Houston commit Abbie Jackson, who’s played every position except libero this year. She has 34 services aces, 156 kills, 22 blocks, 72 assists, and 32 digs despite missing three matches with a concussion.

CLASS 2B STATE TOURNAMENT

Thursday-Friday at Yakima SunDome

LOCALS

Life Christian: It was another dominant regular and postseason for the Eagles, and this year marks their first appearance to the state volleyball tournament since the 2012 season. Madison Boles, a junior, leads the team with 216 kills, 158 digs and 57 blocks and Susan Hurdelbrink had 185 kills and 163 digs. The Eagles (17-3) best finish in the tourney is third in 2002-03.

CLASS 1B STATE TOURNAMENT

Thursday-Friday at Yakima SunDome

LOCALS

Mt. Rainier Lutheran: The Hawks are thriving at the right time. Since their first postseason game on Oct. 23 against Tacoma Baptist, the Hawks (15-6) are 5-2 heading into the state tournament.

preps@thenewstribune.com

Twitter: @tntpreps

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