The Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal’s volleyball report for January 10….our debut for 2018

It is time now to debut for the 2018 season our weekly look at the local girls’ club volleyball scene. Each week, usually on Wednesdays or Thursdays, we’ll recap the previous weekend’s action in the USA Volleyball Puget Sound Region involving local athletes, and give you a preview of what’s on deck for the upcoming weekend.

The 2018 season is shaping up to be another great one, and many local girls will be part of it. In addition to those competing for the Valley’s two club organizations, Snoqualmie-based Ridge Valley (which primarily serves the Snoqualmie Valley School District) and Carnation-based Valley View (which covers the Riverview School District), nearly two dozen players from either Mount Si or Cedarcrest High Schools are competing with various clubs this season. Many of them are participating with teams representing the Bellevue-based Northwest Juniors club, but there are also players competing for teams from Seattle, Tacoma and Mercer Island this season.

The season officially started this past weekend, and continues this weekend with major tournament action we’ll discuss for you this morning. The schedule will run from now until Memorial Day weekend, with postseason action for select teams to follow. We’ll have it all for you here, so without further adieu, let’s recap the U-16 action from Sunday.

U-16 squads finish in mid-pack
Five teams with local players competed Sunday in the opening weekend of regional U16 competition. Known as the “Seeding Day”, the day of action helps the region rank teams in advance of the “Power League” local season which starts later this month. There were a total of 70 teams competing in the event around the region on Sunday, and the NWJ’s Under Armour Black, featuring a pair of CHS’ers, Katie Faccone and Nicole Vanderwal, will start the season ranked 28th overall despite finishing 3-4 in their opening day of action. The NWJ’s Under Armour Blue, with Breana Fitzgerald and Megan Underbrink from Mount Si, went 5-2 and slot in right behind their club colleagues seeded 29th. Further back to start will be NWJ’s Under Armour Grey and Baden Black, and Valley View’s 16’s. CHS’ Selah Kuiken and Hannah Winston make up the remaining NWJ athletes featured in this portion of our coverage.

The opening weekend of regular season club action happens January 27 and 28. In the meantime, though, there’s a big tournament weekend on deck.

MLK weekend preview
The Martin Luther King Jr. weekend is this weekend – my goodness did that get here really fast, folks – and with that comes the first big regional tournament weekend for the local teams and players.

Many of the top teams from the 16’s, 17’s and 18’s age levels will be down in Eugene, OR, at the University of Oregon for the Matt Hartner Memorial Classic. The tournament, which has been around for about 10 years now, is named in memory of Mr. Hartner, a former high school and college volleyball coach who was a longtime fixture with the Duck program. He passed away in 2014 far too soon at the age of 30 at his home in the Portland area. The event has grown into one of the top events on the West Coast, and has become the first major Northwest regional tournament of the club schedule.

Among the teams from our area with Valley athletes who will be there include NWJ’s 17’s and 18’s Under Armour Black, featuring Mount Si’ers Lizzie Belceto, Emily Dann, Chloe Stewart, A.J. Jensen and Dana Dolan, both Valley View teams (their 15’s and 16’s teams, both competing in the U-16 division), and the previously noted NWJ’s 16’s Under Armour Black and Blue teams. We’ll also be following a pair of teams from the Bellevue-based Sudden Impact club, their 17’s and 18’s teams, which include former Wildcats Harper Click and Patience O’Neal, and also the Tacoma-based Puget Sound Volleyball 17’s, with MSHS’ Hayley West, and the Seattle-based Seattle Juniors’ 18’s, with Wildcat Bellah Gogan. Mercer Island’s Island Thunder 18’s, with two ‘Cats, Emma Anderson and Jessica Hanners, are also expected to compete. The event starts Saturday and lasts through the holiday Monday.

All of these young ladies from the Valley and their teammates will be competing not just in front of their family and friends down there, but representatives from a large number of colleges, many of them from the Northwest, are also expected to attend as they look for new talent for their programs for future seasons. The Washington state schools sending folks, according to tournament organizers as of this morning, include Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University, Evergreen State College, Gonzaga, Lower Columbia CC down in Longview, Northwest University in Kirkland, Seattle Pacific, WSU, Western Washington, and the University of Puget Sound down in Tacoma. Also sending reps this weekend are a pair of California schools with Mount Si grads on their rosters – Santa Clara (Anna McCreadie) and Loyola Marymount (Lindsay Carr).

It should be a big weekend, and we’ll follow it here for you.

Also on the docket is a NWJ-run local tournament. This event will feature four area teams with locals – three from NWJ and a fourth from Ridge Valley – competing at Juanita High School in Kirkland and at locations in Snohomish County. Like the Hartner event, action starts Saturday and runs through the holiday Monday. We’ll be sure to follow their action as well.

It’s going to be a big weekend, and we promise updates all weekend long with a full wrapup next week at this time here in the Journal.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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