WALLA WALLA — With the volleyball season coming to a close, some local squads are beginning postseason play in the coming days.
Weston-McEwen (27-1 overall, 16-0 in Class 2A Blue Mountain Conference play) enters the 16-team state playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the 2A division after downing Union to win its district tournament.
“Past success doesn’t mean anything other than we’re playing a pretty good brand of volleyball,” TigerScots head coach Shawn White said. “This year at state there’s a couple of really, really good teams. It’s going to be quite an interesting tournament. I do think we’re one of the top teams and we’re going to play like that. It’s going to be a very exciting tournament this year.”
Weston-McEwen hosts Santiam at 7 p.m. Saturday in opening-round play.
In Southeast 2B League play, conference leader Tri-Cities Prep hosts DeSales in the opening round of the district tournament at noon Saturday.
DeSales head coach Hailee Rogers said the Irish must be able to defend the net and finish plays against the Jaguars. Tri-Cities Prep beat DeSales in a four-set match two weeks ago.
“I’ve been seeing the girls doing a lot of things we struggled with during the season,” Rogers said. “(We’re) just building momentum and confidence going into the postseason. We’ve (had) a week to prepare and I think we’re going to do a great job.”
Fellow Southeast 2B team Dayton travels to face Asotin at noon Saturday. The Bulldogs finished the conference slate 5-5 and head coach Shannon Turner said her team must do a good job passing in order to advance past the Panthers.
“I think there’s been much improvement in the last few weeks,” Turner said. “(We’re) passing better and doing a lot more on the net offensively. I think we’ll have a good tournament.”
Walla Walla Valley Academy (8-5 overall, 6-4 in league) finished its season last week and will not be competing at the district tournament, as the Adventist school can’t play on Saturdays. The Knights travelled to the campus of Pacific Union College last week to compete in a year-end tournament.
“I saw improvement in the girls this season,” Schafer said following the league schedule. “We were the only school to take Tri-Cities Prep to five (sets). The girls feel good about how they played together. We’ve got some good returners coming back, so we’re ready to load up again next year.”
Waitsburg-Prescott ended its season Tuesday with a four-set loss to DeSales. W-P finished the season 5-17 overall and winless in league.
Head coach Angie Potts said W-P featured only one senior and the team’s passing improved handily over the course of the year.
“We didn’t put a lot of experience on the floor at the beginning of the year so the girls had to grow and see what positions suits them best,” Potts said. “We’re looking forward to building on that for next year. We should be able to put five starters back on the floor with more experience.”
In the Southeast 1B conference, Pomeroy enters the district tournament as a No. 2 seed after finishing the season 18-6 overall and 6-1 in league. The Pirates’ opponent will be decided after the opening round is played Monday.
Head coach Bruce Crossfield said the Pirates must play with consistency to be successful.
“When we’re focused and playing with a sense of urgency or intensity, we’re a good team,” Crossfield said. “If we let down a little bit, then we’re kind of just another team. We’re still a good team but we’re beatable. You just hate for it to come down to one bad play or a call or something.”
In other Southeast 2B action, Touchet (2-9 overall, 1-6 in league) faces Rosalia at 6 p.m. Monday during the play-in round. The Indians are hoping to navigate Monday’s match to earn a berth in the district tournament.
Touchet head coach April Miller said her team must continue to use what it learned throughout the season.
“As long as everyone is healthy for the playoff game, I am confident in the girl’s ability to win on Monday,” Miller said. “Wednesday and Saturday in district games — we will have to battle. I’ve seen some great things this year. If they can put the great things together, anything is possible.”
In the Mid-Columbia Conference, Walla Walla High School ended its season Tuesday with a four-set loss to Pasco. The Blue Devils ended the season 3-11 in league.
“This was an incredibly frustrating loss,” Wa-Hi head coach Don Hepker said. “Lack of communication was our biggest problem. This was our seniors last match for Wa-Hi, they all stepped up and will be missed next year.”
McLoughlin High School finished the regular season winless, as the Pioneers had their final match cancelled. Head coach Kaila Rodighiero said her team learned to communicate and fight for every point as the year went on.
“This was a growing year for us,” Rodighiero said. “We learned a lot. We had a young team, but we grew together. We had a rough middle season — we had some injures and such, but the end of the season the girls played well.”