Time now to talk some volleyball. It’s going to get quite busy the next two weeks for local girls’ club volleyball players and their teams, as opportunities start to pick up to grab valuable berths to national tournaments later this spring and summer. For a few teams, they actually got started on that road this past weekend, and we’ll have more on this later. Right now, let’s take a look at how teams are faring going into their local regionals coming up. Regular season play has finished up within the Puget Sound region, with the region’s championship tournaments taking place the next two weekends. Here’s a look at what’s currently going on within the various age levels.
Arguably, the favorite to win it all right now in the region could be the KJ 18s out of Kent. KJ, who features Mount Si senior, and recent UNC Charlotte signee, Sarah McDonald, came out of the final weekend of play April 7 in first place within the U18 division, maintaining their hold on top spot which they earned with a solid performance during week three action. KJ has an opportunity this weekend down in Reno to punch a national berth at a tournament there; otherwise, it’ll be next week for them in their local qualifier.
Another team to watch will be the Island Thunder 18s Black from Mercer Island. Fellow Mount Si senior – and Oregon Tech signee – Krista Galloway is helping this team climb in the standings; they finished seventh overall after week 4 and go into the bid tourney coming up as the ninth-best team overall during the season. It should be interesting to see what happens with them.
Of the U18s with Cedarcrest athletes, Bothell’s Rain City 17s continues to hang tough within the middle of the pack. This team, with Red Wolves Kendall Koch and Cassie Chriest, heads into the championship tournament 30th overall in the regional standings.
A strong performance during the final weekend of regular season local play April 14 has the Sudden Impact 16s from Issaquah looking like a contender for a national berth; they finished eighth overall, their best weekly finish of the spring. This team, with Mount Si’ers Lyndsay Carr, Noelle Stockstad and Anna McCreadie, was one of the teams who was out of town last weekend at a regional tournament, so they will definitely be ready to roll come two weekends from now (May 5-6), when the local bid tourney takes place.
Carnation/Duvall’s Valley View Blue team, which is primarily made up of Cedarcrest players, is holding down a spot further back in the standings, but also will look to make some noise in a couple of weeks.
The team to watch among the ones with Valley athletes in this age group is the Island Thunder Black, with Mount Si’er Liz Larson. This Mercer Island-based team maintained a spot in the top five regionally after a fourth-place finish out of week four play April 14, so look for this group to have a good shot to make nationals later this spring. Another team in this U15 group that could contend for a national spot later on is the Sudden Impact 15s, with fellow Wildcat Kaitlyn Van Cise. SIVBC has been on a tear throughout the season, with their best finish yet after week four (8th), after starting out as a middle of the road team (25th) after the first weekend of local play back in January. Overall they sit in 14th place going into the regional tournament in two weeks, but the way things are going, they could be a bit of a darkhorse, as they may be playing their best ball at the right time.
The one U15 with a CHS athlete, High Velocity of Bellevue featuring Red Wolve Randi Roetscioender, is holding its own, but will be seeded a little further back in the pack; they will head into the tournament May 5 #32 overall in the region.
Most of the teams within these younger age groups from the Valley or which have local connections have had their struggles this season, but one standout team is the Sudden Impact U14 Hurricane. This group, with Chief Kanim MS player Kara Link, had a down week four, finishing 11th overall, but will head into their regionals this weekend locally as the seventh-best team in the standings overall. SIVBC will have a chance to contend for a national spot this weekend.
Another team in these age groups which is worthy of mention is the KJ 13s from Kent, coached by longtime Mount Si assistant Dave Bachman. KJ has had a great season, as they have showed steady improvement. After starting out the season finishing 50th overall after the first weekend of play back in January, they’ve made major strides, and finished 26th overall after week four, with an overall standing of #36. Regardless of how things end up going for them this weekend, they have had a strong season, and Bachman’s efforts have been integral in that.
After the break, we’ll have a wrap on out-of-town regional play for you involving Valleyites. And in a separate item, we’ll have the full rundown of all teams in the local region with Valley athletes.
Over the past two weekends, five teams have competed out of town at various national qualifiers, with mixed results.
KJ 13s @ Minneapolis tourney, April 13-15
The KJ group showed their improved play with a solid day one start April 13, then a 0-3 performance in the matches in day two April 14th cost them a chance at a national berth. Bachman’s team finished 17th largely playing opponents from the upper Midwest, including teams from Minneapolis, Kansas City and Milwaukee.
NWJ 17’s and SIVBC 16s @ Dallas tourney, April 20-22
Both teams finished 1-6 in tournament play and finished well back in the standings. NWJ 17’s, with returning Mount Si player Gen Knoppi, got their win against a team from Rio Grande Valley, TX, and the Sudden Impact group, with their Mount Si threesome of Carr, Stockstad and McCreadie, scored their one win against an Austin, TX-based club which is run by longtime beach pro Adam Johnson.
SIVBC 14s Hurricane and 15s @ Reno, April 20-22
The two teams competed in Club divisions in their respective age groups, which had a lot of teams each, so the placings these teams ended up with, especially after the starts they had, don’t tell the whole story. The 15s team, with Van Cise, started out 4-0 before falling in their last three to finish 35th overall out of 104 teams, and the 14s side, with Link, broke out to a 5-0 mark before, too, falling in their last three; they ended up 51st out of 147 teams. All of these wins SIVBC teams recorded were against squads from northern California, which made up a significant portion of the tournament.
Full rundown also coming up.