Wa-Hi's Madison Doepker goes Blue Devil down to get the dig in front of teammate Kat Tonhdavong during 1st game play against visiting Kamiakan Thursday night.
Photo by Jeff Horner.
WALLA WALLA — Wa-Hi coaches Don Hoepker and Kim McDaniels haven’t given up on their team’s chances when the Mid-Columbia League’s Class 4A district volleyball tournament commences Oct. 25 at home sites.
But the Blue Devils will have to bring a better effort than they did Thursday night in a straight-set loss to Kamiakin in the Wa-Hi gym if they hope to extend their season.
“Simply put, we didn’t show up ready to play,” McDaniels said of Thursday’s 25-18, 25-15, 25-12 defeat at the hands of the Class 3A Braves. “There were times when we looked phenomenal and I believed we would take the game.
“But for the majority of the time we were not playing together and there was not a lot of hustle.”
The loss sank Wa-Hi’s Mid-Columbia record to 1-11, and the Blue Devils are 2-11 overall heading into their final two regular-season matches. The Blue Devils are at 4A rival Richland Tuesday and close out the regular season Thursday at 3A Kennewick.
All four of the Mid-Columbia’s 4A schools advance to district play, and McDaniels anticipates Wa-Hi will enter the postseason as the fourth seed at either Richland or Chiawana.
“Richland is the best team in my opinion,” McDaniels said. “But after our game at Chiawana on Tuesday (a 25-15, 25-20, 25-16 Wa-Hi loss) I am convinced they are beatable.
“We lost the game on our own errors. If we can continue to work on those in practice and carry them over to game time, I am confident we can beat Chiawana. Richland, though, might be more of a battle”
Madi Doepker, one of seven sophomores on the Bue Devils’ varsity roster, led Wa-Hi against Kamiakin with five kills.
In par it’s Wa-Hi’s youth that has been holding the team back, McDaniels suggested. Two seniors and five juniors round out the squad.
“We’re 50 percent sophomores,” McDaniels said. “And Torri Crawford is the only player on our team who saw any varsity playing time before this year.”
Crawford and Sierra Carman are the team’s two seniors.
“I have seen tremendous improvement, fundamentally and mentally,” McDaniels said. “Those are good things to see, but I also expect it to carry over into game situations.
“The way we bring it to the girls is that they have nothing to lose at this point. The whole league expects us to roll over and lose. They understand it.”
“Right now it’s our age that is holding us back from being 100 percent competitive all of the time.”