The state 1A/2B/1B volleyball tournaments will kick off on Friday morning at the Yakima SunDome and two Twin Harbors teams — Montesano and Lake Quinault — are all set to go.
Montesano, the Evergreen 1A League champions and the No. 2 seed out of District IV, will start at 9:45 a.m. on Friday against Annie Wright in the state 1A opening round. Lake Quinault, the Coastal 1B League runner-up and the No. 3 seed out of District IV, will start at 11:30 a.m. against Sunnyside Christian.
One win on Friday will move the teams into Saturday’s matches, but two wins are needed to get into a placing match later on Saturday.
The Bulldogs will send an experienced group to the SunDome this time around. Last year, Montesano went 1-2 and fell one match short of a placing match — a goal the team has set for itself for this trip.
“It helps to have seven seniors, who know what it is going to take to get there,” Montesano head coach Debbie Gibson said. “I hope we can reach the goal we’ve set as a team — get into the top-eight spots. I like our chances. I feel like we have a good shot against Annie Wright and I like where we are in the bracket.”
Montesano picked the right time to be playing its best volleyball of the season. After winning against Castle Rock in the district semifinals to clinch a state berth, the Bulldogs returned days later to give La Center a tough time before falling in four sets in the district title match.
With its power hitting game, led by seniors Jordan Spradlin and Shayla Floch, and a strong defensive setup behind them, Montesano showed in the district tournament that it can produce enough offense to stay with district powers La Center and Castle Rock and others in the state.
“Obviously (last Wednesday) against Castle Rock, I thought we were peaking at the right time,” Gibson said. “We played well against La Center. All in all, we played really well. We just got beat by a better team that night. Being that the (Trico League) has been the stronger league, we were right there with them. We have a good shot to get to Saturday and finish in the top-eight spots.”
For the first time since 2013, Lake Quinault will travel to Yakima for the state 1B tournament. The Elks will take on Sunnyside Christian, which finished sixth overall last year, in the opening round.
The Elks are taking this time to get things right, working on the basics and preparing for what will come on Friday.
“We talked a little bit about what we’re going up against in Yakima and we all know the teams out there are very disciplined,” Lake Quinault head coach Sue Kalama said. “I think the girls can give them a go. They are going to see some very disciplined teams. We’ve gone back to the basics, working on everything and telling ourselves we’re going to do the best we can.”
Through the Coastal 1B League season, the Elks were able to put together all-around performances to finish second overall to Naselle, which won the district title. Kalama noted that will have to be the approach in Yakima.
“We have to be prepared,” she added. “Our girls were concentrating on passing, getting the ball over and working a lot on our offense. With the short courts, which we struggled with at districts, we practiced our serves and letting the defense do the work. We’re excited to go. We have three seniors who have been looking forward to this. We’re going to play in the moment.”