The state volleyball tournaments for Class 4A, 3A and 2A are coming back to the West side of the mountains this fall.
Cindy Adsit, WIAA assistant executive director who oversees the sport, confirmed the move this morning.
The 4A and 3A tourneys will be at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, a three-court facility. The 2A tourney will be nearby at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, which offers two courts.
The 1A, 2B and 1B events will remain at the five-court Yakima SunDome.
And there are some potential format changes I’ll get to as well.
The move is great news for local volleyball fans who have been unable or unwilling to make the trip to Kennewick the past few years to follow their teams. The 4A and 3A tourneys have been at the Toyota Center since 2006. The 2A event was in Yakima in 2006, then moved to Kennewick in ’07 and the three tourneys spanned three days at the Toyota Center, Thursday-Friday-Saturday, with each classification rotating between Thursday-Friday and Friday-Saturday.
Before that, the 4A and 3A tournaments were at the Everett Events Center for three years after a long run in Spokane. In 2006, the WIAA had a promising agreement with the Tacoma Dome to host all of the state volleyball tourneys on one weekend, but the deal fell through when the T-Dome had an opportunity for a more lucrative event — a Dixie Chicks Concert.
That left the WIAA scrambling as the Events Center had made another booking on the dates needed and the Toyota Center became home.
I’ve enjoyed covering the tournaments in Kennewick and really like the facility and staff. The only problem, besides smaller crowds for many of the West-side teams, is the schedule is often thrown off by matches that run late. In 2009, for instance, Mount Si played a quarterfinal match on a Friday that lasted until midnight.
That in part is why the WIAA is looking at making some changes in the format of the tournaments.
First of all, state volleyball tourneys in all classifications will all be on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12. That much has been decided, along with the venue changes.
There are two other proposals, both of which have been passed by the WIAA Executive Board on first and second readings. If passed on the third reading in March, they will become official.
The first is one I know most coaches will not favor. All first-round matches and following matches on the championship side of the bracket will remain best-three-out-of five. But all consolation matches will be two-out-of-three — and that includes the placing matches (other than the championship match).
That is in an effort to keep the tournaments more on schedule, Adsit said.
The other change would be in how the placings are determined after first and second. Currently, losers of the semifinals play for third and sixth places, and the other two consolation trophy matches are for fifth and eighth places and fourth and sixth places — the same as what has been the format for 16-team state basketball placings.
The rationale was that the teams placing second, third, fourth and fifth wound up with just one loss, while the others finished with two.
But the volleyball coaches have requested a change, where the semifinal losers will play for third and fourth, and the other consolation matches will be for fifth/sixth and seventh/eighth. That will happen upon final approval.
This is a lot to digest, I know. Overall, I think it’s great news for teams on this side of the state. And another plus is that the WIAA will save “a lot” of money on facility rentals alone, according to Adsit.