OK, so you’ve had time to digest the Coaches Association rankings for 4A and 3A this week.
And now you can have a look at mine.
If you’ve followed my process, you know that I struggle a bit with how to factor in early-season tournaments — like last Saturday’s Kent Classic.
First there’s the pool-play aspect, where teams play just two sets and sometimes split them. Then there’s the bracket play, where it’s 2-out-of-3 rather than the 3-out-of-5 we’ll see in the playoffs.
And, invariably, some teams aren’t at full strength due to injuries or scheduling conflicts.
About the only clear message I got from the Kent tournament, where Washington teams are concerned, is that Mead is good. Very good. I definitely think the Panthers can contend for the 4A state title. I wish Jackson had been on the court. Coach Ashley Allen and sister Emmy, one of the Timberwolves’ top players, were in the stands scouting.
Jackson and Mead could wind up squaring off at the Spokane Crossover on Oct. 6, but that’s no sure thing.
At any rate, those two teams remain 1-2 in the 4A poll. I expected more from Bellarmine Prep, to be honest, and I think coach Jody DeGroot did, too. The Lions split sets with Curtis in the second round of pool play, winning one 25-20 and losing the other 25-18. That gave Curtis the No. 1 seed out of the pool and the Vikings wound up tying for third place with Mead (both lost in the semifinals to Oregon teams, in case you missed it).
I’ve jumped Curtis to No. 3 this week and dropped Bellarmine to No. 6. The Lions also lost to previously unranked Camas in the tournament, 2-1 in bracket play. I’ve had Camas on my watch list and this is a little out of character for me, but I’m vaulting the Papermakers to No. 4. I’ll be anxious to see what they do head-to-head later in the season against No. 8 Skyview.
Now, Puyallup (formerly No. 4) lost to Emerald Ridge last week, 3-0, but I’m leaving the Vikings in at No. 10 — again, a bit out of the norm for me. I’m still taking that wait-and-see approach on the Jags, who are both young and talented. They’ll likely make the top-10 before all is said and done, barring injuries.
Skyline made the Coaches Association poll, along with Olympia, but are still on my wait list (although Oly was No. 4 out of the gate, you might recall). I’ve dropped Kentwood out this week as well. I think the Conquerors could be a trophy team at state, but have been a bit up-and-down.
Newport stays at No. 5. I don’t think we got a true indication of how good that team is, because they were short-handed Saturday. But I can tell you that 6-3 junior Casey Schoenlein is excellent.
Now on to 3A, where there is a new No. 1. Holy Names gets to wear the target this week, and should get tested with three tough Metro matches — Bainbridge tonight (Monday), Lakeside on Wednesday and No. 7 Eastside Catholic on Friday.
Mount Si, last week’s No. 1, slides to No. 4, just behind Mercer Island. The Wildcats were without their starting center at the Classic, so there was just no way of knowing how solid they are at full strength. Prairie, the preseason choice at No. 1, inches back up to No. 3.
Kennewick, No. 6 last week, falls out after losing to both Kamiakin and Richland (No. 9 in 4A). Kamiakin gets the No. 10 spot.
I know Eastside Catholic coach Angie McKinnell didn’t use her top lineup at all times Saturday, so I wrestled with where to put the Crusaders this week. I ultimately dropped them two spots to No. 7, just behind Seattle Prep.
In 2A, West Valley vaults to the top after sweeping Selah last week and the Vikings simply switch places, now sitting at No. 3. The only other change is the flip-flop between East Valley of Spokane and Pullman, now 7-8, since EV won 3-0 in that head-to-head battle last week.
So, have a look and let me know what you think:
1. Jackson (Mill Creek)
2. Mead (Spokane)
3. Curtis (University Place)
5. Newport (Belleve)
6. Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma)
7. Gig Harbor
8. Skyview (Vancouver)
1. Holy Names (Seattle)
2. Mercer Island
3. Prairie (Brush Prairie)
4. Mount Si (Snoqualmie)
5. Southridge (Kennewick)
6. Seattle Prep
7. Eastside Catholic (Sammamish)
8. Mount Spokane
9. Timberline (Lacey)
10. Kamiakin (Kennewick)
1. West Valley (Yakima)
6. Capital (Olympia)
7. East Valley (Spokane)