OK, so I got the dart board out and managed to come up with the first state high-school volleyball rankings of the season for 4A, 3A and 2A.
When all is said and done, we’ll see if I managed a bulls eye or two, although I very well might miss the board in a lot of areas.
Last year, I correctly pegged the 3A and 2A champions in Prairie and West Valley of Yakima, but was off-target in 4A, where I went with Jackson over Mead and Bellarmine Prep. Instead, they finished in reverse order as Bellarmine beat Mead in the title match and Jackson finished third.Bellarmine gets props right out of the gate as the 4A favorite, thanks largely to 6-3 Courtney Schwan, who has been tabbed one of the top-20 seniors in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com.
Mead and Jackson both have new coaches, and a slew of new players, but with their tradition I’m starting them in the top-10, with Mead at No. 7 and Jackson at No. 9.
Note that Jackson travels to Bellarmine on Sept. 16.
Like last year, I see 3A being pretty wide open and am giving the nod to Southridge of Kennewick — followed by a pair of KingCo teams, Mount Si and Mercer Island. You could almost flip a coin there (or throw a dart) and they should have some dynamite matches again this season.
Prairie has a new head coach and a lot of fresh faces, but again I felt compelled to give them a spot in the opening rankings, starting the Falcons at No. 9.
The always-tough Metro is represented by No. 5 Holy Names and No. 7 Seattle Prep (with high consideration going to Eastside Catholic, Lakeside, Bainbridge and Bishop Blanchet — and I shouldn’t leave West Seattle out of the mix either).
And talk about wide-open, I really feel it’s a roll of the dice in 2A. There are a lot of really good teams, but not one that really jumped out at me. So, I just stuck with West Valley of Yakima, which is seeking a third straight title (the Rams won the 3A crown in 2011).
I’m short on time this afternoon, so I’m going to leave it at that for now. I expect to start my weekly blog notebook, The Right Stuff, next week, and should have the extensive, state-wide preview in to PrepVolleyball.com by then, too.
I am not going with an “Others to watch” list, but I have to mention a few teams I really wrestled with. In 4A, I’d love to have Kentwood, Skyview and Olympia in the top-10, just to mention a few (OK, I’ll mention Gonzaga Prep, Puyallup, Curtis, Camas, Richland and Chiawana, too!).
In 3A, in addition to the other Metro teams mentioned, Mount Spokane got a hard look along with Columbia River (might be better than Prairie, but we’ll see), Kennedy Catholic, North Thurston, Timberline, Bellevue and several WesCo teams — notably Meadowdale, Shorewood, Stanwood and Glacier Peak.
We only added 2A rankings last season, so I still feel like I’m just getting my feet wet there. Fife and White River could give Washington a run in the SPSL, and Sumner, too. I’ve heard good things about Ridgefield, Lynden, Squalicum and West Valley of Spokane as well — again, just for starters.
I expect to receive polls from the WSVCA for all classifications soon, and will be posting those.
There’s a big tournament at Auburn Mountainview this Saturday, the Adidas Invitational, and you should get out there if you get a chance.
OK, enough of the build-up. Here you go:
1. Bellarmine Prep
Courtney Schwan eyes sweet repeat for defending champs
2. Emerald Ridge
Young guns zero in on a trophy, and the bigger the better
High-flying Lanesha Reagan rarin’ to go after Panthers fell flat last season
4. Central Valley (Spokane Valley)
In a loaded GSL, the big-swinging Bears are getting the early nod
5. Auburn Riverside
It should be a Precious (Atalua) season for multi-talented Ravens
6. Newport (Bellevue)
There’s big expectations with 6-4 Casey Schoenlein at the net
7. Mead (Spokane)
New coach, new players, but the uniforms still say “Mead”
8. Skyline (Sammamish)
The money’s on (Molly) Mounsey making Spartans a major threat
9. Jackson (Mill Creek)
New-regime T-Wolves out to prove they’re still contenders
10. Battle Ground
Time for a changing of the guard in Southwest Washington
1. Southridge (Kennewick)
This should be experienced Suns’ best chance of rising to the top
2. Mount Si
Lindsay Carr could drive Wildcats to the championship match
3. Mercer Island
There’s plenty left in the tank after last year’s near-perfect run
4. University (Spokane)
U-Hi has talent and Titanic chip on its shoulder after forfeits
5. Holy Names (Seattle)
Cougars get the early call to carry mighty Metro’s flag
6. Kamiakin (Kennewick)
Don’t expect the Braves to fall one win short of state this time
7. Seattle Prep
Even if they falter early, Panthers should paw their way back
8. Shadle Park (Spokane)
Early win over Mead earns the Highlanders high marks to start
9. Prairie (Brush Prairie)
Defending champs have lots of changes, but a strong tradition
10. Auburn Mountainview
Lions liked the long-awaited view atop the trophy stand last season
1. West Valley (Yakima)
If Rams believe they can win a third straight title, I do, too
2. Capital (Olympia)
Experienced Cougars look to climb the state ladder
This Vikings ship continues to sail in the right direction
With Maggie McTaggart, the Tigers are definitely an “It” team
Coaching change shouldn’t change fortunes for traditional power
Seahawks soared last season (fifth place) with a young lineup
Sure, graduation hit hard – but so does this next T-Bird group
8. East-Valley (Yakima)
Mid-Valley is loaded, and Red Devils could be the best of them
Tasi Peredo puts the Patriots in contention once again
10. Sehome (Bellingham)
Mariners return many from team that just missed state trophy