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December 14, 2011 at 2:56 PM

WIAA to explore possible changes in state volleyball format, sites

The WIAA plans to explore possible changes to the high-school state volleyball tournaments, both in terms of format and sites.

Cindy Adsit, WIAA assistant executive director in charge of volleyball, touched on some of the possibilties today (Wednesday) while giving an overview of the 2011 tournaments at meeting of the media advisory committee.

“There were issues at every site,” Adsit said.

The 1A, 2B and 1B tournaments were at the Yakima Sundome as in the past, but were spread over just two days instead of three (the past few years, one classification would play Thursday-Friday and the other two Friday-Saturday). A sixth court was added and Adsit said it was a tight fit.

But those tourneys likely will remain in the Sundome, she said.

The 4A, 3A and 2A tourneys moved this past season from the Toyota Center in Kennewick, where they had also been on a Thursday-Friday, Friday-Saturday rotation. The 4A and 3A tournaments were at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey Friday-Saturday (with Friday consolation play at Timberline High School). The 2A tournament was at Evergreen State College in Olympia, also on Friday-Saturday.

Seating was a bit of a problem at both venues, particularly at Evergreen, but attendance was up.

“Having it crowded at state volleyball was great,” Adsit said. “It hadn’t been crowded for a long time….some things can be fixed.”

She said Evergreen would have to make several changes to be considered again. The two courts were side by side this year and need to be end to end in the future. A lack concessions and poor outdoor lighting were also a problem.

One of the biggest issues at Saint Martin’s was the schedule, with matches set just an hour and 45 minutes apart on the three courts. The tournament got way behind on both days. The last quarterfinal on Friday didn’t end until well after midnight and the 4A championship match went well past 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Adsit said the WIAA is committed to trying to start matches no earlier than 8 a.m. and would like all finished by 10 p.m.

Among the options would be to find a venue with four courts or changing the format, which could mean going to a regional setup similar to basketball and then a tournament for the final eight. Another possibility would be matches consisting of the best two-out-of-three sets instead of three-out-of-five.

As far as sites go, Adsit said Saint Martin’s is still in consideration for 4A and 3A and that the Toyota Center also has shown interest in having the tournaments back. She mentioned the Clark County Events Center in Vancouver as a possibility. The facility could fit six courts, but has aluminum bleachers for seating.

The Tacoma Dome apparently is not financially viable.

Adsit said she is in the process of sending surveys out to high-school volleyball coaches around the state, seeking their input. She intends to present some options to the WIAA Executive Board next month, but said major changes might not come until the 2013 season.

I will continue to follow any developments and keep you posted here.

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