The Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal’s weekly club volleyball report for January 15

Good Wednesday morning. We’ll try to catch up on some college stuff from the past few days later today, but a note and continued foul weather could impact tonight’s basketball games for Mount Si and Cedarcrest so if they do we’ll advise. Same for the Wildcat gymnastics meet.

However, it is Wednesday and that means it’s time for our weekly segment as we look at the goings on inside USA Volleyball’s Puget Sound Region and how Valley girls’ high school volleyball players and their club teams are faring.

The weekend that was
This past weekend wrapped up the preseason seeding portion of action for the region, as teams were slotted into place for the opening of regular season play at the end of this month.

U14 and U15 teams got their seeding action in, and there were some solid results to report involving players tied to Mount Si High School’s program.

We’ll start with the Bellevue-based Sudden Impact U15 Lightning, which feature Mount Si varsity freshman Friley Curtiss. SI came into the seeding weekend ranked as the top team in the age group, and they showed why they deserved said top ranking, as they proceeded to beat three South Sound-area teams, two in sweeps, at the Kitsap Pavilion location in Bremerton. It looks as if the Lightning are going to be a team to watch all season, and that is good news for Wildcat fans as it looks once again like a number of Mount Si varsity players are finding themselves on high-level clubs this season in club play.

We mentioned this last week as well with the U16 group and players Katrice Dunn, Kira Holmberg and Bailey Showalter with Kent Juniors (Holmberg/Dunn) and Sudden Impact’s Thunder (Showalter), and it appears the Lightning aren’t the only U15 team that will be worth watching this winter and spring if you are a MSHS fan.

Northwest Juniors’ U15 UnderArmour Blue, based in Bellevue and which has a good-sized Mount Si delegation of five girls on it including Brooke Daly, Peyton MacKenzie and Robin Hakala, finished ninth on the weekend after opening with the 12th overall seed in the age group, so it looks like their seeding will bump up perhaps into the top 10 in time for the opening weekend of the regular season. The primary concern we see is that they struggled on the weekend, only winning one of their four matches, so that’ll have to improve obviously, but it’s early in the year and as Mount Si coach Bonnie Foote always preaches, it’s about improving every day, every play, so we’d expect to see the same approach with the NWJ girls.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, it was a good weekend for Carnation/Duvall-based Valley View. Their three teams that competed, a pair of U14’s and one U13 which is part of the U14 age group for the local competition, went a combined 7-3 on the weekend. The squads opened with fairly low seeds in the age group, so expect a bump up, but they are still well down in the seeding list in the region. A good start like this if the teams can build off it could be good news coming for the future stars of Cedarcrest High School’s program, many of whom likely will come from this Valley View club operation.

Also, speaking of Foote, her daughter Isabelle is competing this season, with KJ’s U14 crew, and the team went 2-1 this past weekend and finished 13th after opening play seeded 17th. Look for KJ to bump up the rankings a bit and be right there in the top eschelon of the age group all season. KJ teams historically have been among the best in the region, and many a top Mount Si player know this, and so does the longtime Wildcat coach, whose club coaching background was at KJ before she left to start up and run the locally-based RidgeValley program which ended operations this past fall as we have discussed here in the past.

As well, future MSHS stars also shined, with local middle-schoolers Maggie Kamp and Sophie Lobet competing for Northwest’s U14 Blue, which finished fifth on the weekend after opening with the fifth seed in the U14 division. They went 3-1 on the weekend, so look for them to have a strong season ahead.

All, however, was not rosy, as a number of other teams, mostly from NWJ which also feature a number of other MSHS athletes including Ashley Cornick, Ananya Banjeree and Sam Gilden, struggled and finished well back, with seedings to match. Those teams will look to pick things up in advance of the opening weekend of the regular season.

This weekend
The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend comes this weekend, and with it is the first big tournament weekend for local clubs. There is a local tournament – the Northwest Juniors’ sponsored tournament which will be contested all over the Puget Sound area with its headquarters facility in Renton and which several of the NWJ squads with local players, including the above mentioned U14 and U15 teams, will be competing at – but the big one is down in Eugene at the University of Oregon.

The Matt Hartner Memorial tournament is being hosted at the university’s campus this weekend and is named in honor of Matt Hartner, who was a longtime volleyball fixture around the university and youth scene in Oregon until his passing a few years ago. The event draws in many of the top teams from around the Northwest, so this serves as the first big test for local teams this year against the top regional competition, from both eastern Washington and Oregon, although this thing also draws teams in from California and Canada as well. The two Sudden Impact teams we mentioned above, along with KJ’s 16’s, will be there, and perhaps there will be others, we’ll keep you posted. That said, we’ll be sure to have full coverage for you throughout the weekend and have a full report on it all next week.

Also next week, we’ll preview the first weekend of “Power League” regular season play.

This has been your look at how the club volleyball scene is doing in USA Volleyball’s Puget Sound Region in the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. We’ll be back next week!

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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