SVSJ preview: Cedarcrest volleyball looks to compete in new league this fall

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our Thursday coverage will feature a look at Valley high school volleyball as it gets set for the 2019 fall season. We begin now with a look at Cedarcrest High School as it embarks on its first campaign in the Wesco 2A/3A Conference this fall after its long run in the Cascade Conference. Later, we’ll have a look at Mount Si High School’s team, which also has some new things to look forward to…or maybe it’s a return to the old days, who knows? That’s on deck this morning here at the Journal.

Cedarcrest High School’s volleyball team this season looks to compete in the new Wesco Conference, which the Red Wolves joined following the end of the Cascade Conference after this past school year.

Back as coach and in her sixth year at the helm is Kelsey Fish. Fish went 5-10 last season, making the district playoffs but falling in the first round. She has four seniors back this fall, led by outside hitter Taeler Gerde. Gerde, a multi-sport athlete at CHS, played club ball this spring in the USA Volleyball’s Puget Sound Region with the Northwest Juniors organization, so that year-round experience should provide CHS a solid player to work with this season. Gerde will be joined by middle blocker Gabby Brown, opposite hitter Parker Ruyle and defensive specialist Berrit Stow to make up the four-girl Class of 2019. Libero Caroline Tiffany, a junior, is expected to be the top non-senior on the roster this fall.

Fish’s coaching philosophy works to involve the players in the decision-making. “My goal and philosophy is to have fun by working and playing hard,” she told us by email. “I believe student-athletes should have more control and input in how we play and choices made on and off the court. My role is (as) a facilitator and help to guide players to be the best we can be together.”

With this being a new league this fall, not much is known about who might be the toughest teams to watch within the league. That said, the teams that could be worth watching in Wesco include Stanwood, Snohomish and Arlington, all of whom made the 3A Northwest tournament last season. Archbishop Murphy is likely to be the top 2A team within the league this fall. “I don’t know much about the teams in our league, just players who have played with or against our kids in club. It will be challenging, but challenges are exciting,” Fish said.

CHS will play every team within the league once, with Arlington being first on deck next Thursday night up north at Arlington High School. The Red Wolves open the home schedule the following Tuesday – September 11 – against Oak Harbor, and will finish the season playing those pesky Murphy ladies on October 25. Cedarcrest also has two Saturday tournaments scheduled – the ASC High School Cup at Academy Sports in Lynnwood, which is home to the Washington Volleyball Academy, September 15, and the Reach the Peak event up at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish September 29.

The playoff structure is likely to be similar as it was last year, with an RPI computer index helping determine district playoff seedings. However, unlike last year, with the large number of 3A teams in Wesco, the “bonus” factor will come into play this fall. The computer will award a bonus for every win against a 3A league opponent, so with Cascade not having had any 3A teams in that league, Cedarcrest was shut out of that. Now, in Wesco, the Red Wolves will have the ability to benefit from that, and that could help their playoff seeding. The top 12 teams still will get in regardless so wins of any sort will be critical to help their playoff chances.

All home games begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be at Cedarcrest High School, 29000 NE 150th St. in Duvall.

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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