2017 WIAA VOLLEYBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
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.
Capital: Could this be the year the Cougars bring home a championship? This is the 18th time in school history the program has advanced to the state playoffs, but the Cougars have yet to win a title, with their best finishes coming in 2014, 2013 and 1994 as runners-up. 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. Capital’s 3-0 win over Gig Harbor in the 3A WC/Southwest bidistrict tournament title game was its 14th shutout of the season. Sophomore outside hitter Maia Nichols (167 kills) plays all around, and is a dominating presence outside, while senior setter Tia Grow (299 assists) and senior libero Elise Meath (250 digs) are proven.
North Thurston: After finishing fourth in the 3A South Sound Conference, the Rams (10-8) cruised to the district semifinals to secure their third state-tournament berth in the last four seasons. But, 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. The Wildcats shut out the Rams in this round last season, but a crew of North Thurston youngsters hopes to avoid a repeat. 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 in the back row.
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 of Seattle. This season, the Blazers (12-6) finished third in the 3A SSC, and third at the district tournament to earn a second consecutive trip to Kennwick. Timberline’s only losses are to state-tournament qualifiers Capital, Gig Harbor and crosstown rival North Thurston.
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.
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. Black Hills forced a decisive fifth set, after dropping the first two, but eventually lost a thriller to district champion Ridgefield, 16-14. The road remains tough in the first round Friday, when the Wolves meet 2A SPSL Mountain champion White River.
Tumwater: An injury has star outside hitter 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), the Gonzaga commit still helped lead the T-Birds in their 23rd state tournament appearance. The defending state champions have advanced to the state playoffs 12 of the past 13 seasons, including winning it all in 2016, 2014 and 2008. Ridgefield upended Tumwater (15-3) in the district semifinals last weekend, but the T-Birds strung together 11 straight wins — including nine shutouts — before that loss. Tumwater’s only other losses this season are to 4A state qualifiers Curtis and Emerald Ridge.