Let the real fun begin!
Most volleyball leagues start the playoff process this week (or weekend), and I’m excited to see how things play out. I’m hoping to get to the South Puget Sound League 4A tournament Saturday, where there’s a good possibility of a rematch between No. 3 Graham-Kapowsin (South Division champ) and No. 5 Auburn Riverside (North Division leader) in the title match at 7 p.m.
Mind you, Riverside (7-0) has to beat Auburn (6-1) tonight in the final regular-season contest. Otherwise, it will be Auburn against G-K. Auburn, which owes its only league loss to Kentwood, is enjoying its best season in a while, and that’s been fun to see.
In case you missed it, Kentwood — which had its 56-match division win streak snapped by Auburn Riverside week before lost — tumbled again last week, this time to Kent-Meridian.
G-K earned its first division title with a 3-2 victory over fourth-ranked Curtis last week, a back-and-forth battle that lived up to its billing. Curtis will play the No. 2 team from the SPSL North (Auburn Riverside or Kentwood) in the SPSL tourney Saturday at 5 p.m.
The SPSL tourney is for seeing only into the West Central District tournament (which will include No. 2 Olympia). The top five teams from the North and South play crossover matches Saturday, with all 10 advancing.
So, sticking with 4A, you’ll notice a few changes in this week’s rankings, all toward the bottom. Richland slips from No. 7 to No. 8 after an upset loss to 3A Eastmont, but I’m not dinging the Bombers much because they were without three starters (illness).
Lewis and Clark, the defending state champion, lost to Gonzaga Prep and slips out of the rankings. G-Prep lost to Central Valley, so its CV in the poll at No. 10. And the other newcomer is Woodinville, which is closing in on an unbeaten KingCo 4A campaign.
Kamiak, which had popped in at No. 10 last week, lost that showdown with Jackson last Thursday, so reverts to the “others to watch” list. One big WesCo showdown Wednesday will be Monroe against Marysville-Pilchuck, both currently 6-0 in the North Division.
As for 3A, it was a tough week for Eastside Catholic, which started the season at No. 1. The Crusaders lost to both unranked Holy Names and then-No. 4 Seattle Prep, but were without two starters (concussions). Eastside slides to No. 5 for this week.
Seattle Prep moves to No. 3 and Kennedy Catholic inches up to No. 4, but I’m not too sure how the Lancers are going to fare down the stretch without Jennica McPherson, their top player who was scheduled to have surgery today to remove a cancerous tumor from her lung (will try to update you on her condition when I get in touch with her mom).
West Valley of Yakima continues to impress, knocking off 4A Kamiakin of Kennewick last week, so the Rams take the No. 8 spot. Auburn Mountainview stays in at No. 10, despite losing to Bonney Lake last week. That’s the only non-tournament loss of the season for the Lions.
The SPSL 3A/Seamount sub-district tournament is this weekend and we could see Auburn Mountainview play Kennedy.
The Metro tournament begins tomorrow. Eastside Catholic could wind up playing No. 2 Bishop Blanchet in the semifinals Thursday. Nathan Hale, the Metro Sound champion at 12-0, is seeded into the other semi and likely will meet Holy Names or Seattle Prep. The championship match is Saturday.
I hope you can get out to see some tourney action and report back. And if you’ve got any upset specials to predict, let’s hear ’em.
1. Mead (Spokane)
4. Curtis (University Place)
5. Auburn Riverside
6. Skyview (Vancouver)
7. Southridge (Kennewick)
10. Central Valley (Spokane Valley)
Others (alphabetically) — Auburn, Bothell, Edmonds-Woodway, Eisenhower (Yakima), Gig Harbor, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane), Issaquah, Jackson (Mill Creek), Kamiak, Kamiakin (Kennewick), Kentwood, Lake Stevens, Lewis and Clark (Spokane), Marysville-Pilchuck, Monroe, Puyallup.
1. Mount Spokane
2. Bishop Blanchet
3. Seattle Prep
4. Kennedy Catholic (Burien)
5. Eastside Catholic
6. Prairie (Brush Prairie)
7. Mount Si (Snoqualmie)
8. West Valley (Yakima)
9. North Kitsap (Poulsbo)
10. Auburn Mountainview
Others (alphabetically) — Bonney Lake, Camas, Columbia River, Enumclaw, Everett, Holy Names, Lakes (Lakewood), Lakeside, Lynnwood, Meadowdale (Lynnwood), Nathan Hale, Shorecrest (Shoreline), Timberline (Lacey), White River (Buckley).