2B Volleyball Preview: High Hopes for Tigers, Vikings at State
By Matt Baide
Fresh off a district championship, the Tigers are hoping to make a similar run through the State 2B tournament on Thursday and Friday in Yakima.
And waiting on the other side of the bracket, looking for another shot at the state title and Napavine, is rival Mossyrock.
The action for the Tigers begins on Thursday at 11:45 a.m. on Court 2 at the SunDome with a first-round match against Tonasket.
“All I know is that they’re fifth in their district, and I know what their win loss is because WIAA sent that out as a preliminary, but you know it doesn’t matter,” Napavine coach Monica Dailey said. “We have to beat whoever we play, so our goal is to just be consistent and hopefully get the win.”
Tonasket finished the season 14-4 overall and placed second in the Central Washington 2B League behind Brewster.
Dailey said she has done her research on the 2B volleyball bracket, and should the Tigers get past Tonasket, will be facing a tough matchup in the second round against either Colfax or Toutle Lake.
“We’re definitely going to have to work. There’s a lot of good teams over there,” Dailey said. “They’re (Toutle) not a team to look past and Colfax, definitely. I’m not real excited to see them, but then kind of excited to see them, because our goal is to beat them.”
Mossyrock, meanwhile, heads to Yakima with a 15-2 record, a year after finishing second — the best finish in program history — with a 3-2 loss to Kalama in the championship match. The Vikings open up with Walla Walla Valley Academy on Thursday at 1:30 p.m., and will then face either Raymond or Brewster in the second round.
Napavine is familiar with the state tournament, with the senior class of Mollie Olson, Melissa Lee, Tyler Colburn, Maddie Thompson and Abbi Music having been to state all four years. And the preparation for this year is no different than previous years.
“It’s the same preparation every year for state. By the time we get about two-thirds of the way through the season, we start fine-tuning where our deficits are and just continuing to work on our strengths,” Dailey said. “Your basics are your serving and receiving. We work on that every practice and sometimes we work on it the majority of the practice because if you can’t pass the ball, you can’t run an offense.”
Olson, a two-time Central 2B League MVP, is hoping to keep her prep career going as late Saturday as possible.
“You need to play every point like it’s the last one, I guess, because if you don’t a couple times in a row, then you get too far down and it’s pretty hard to get back,” Olson said.
While Olson enjoyed the district championship, it was bittersweet because she plays volleyball with some of Mossyrock’s players.
“It was awesome. It was really cool,” she said. “I actually really like it because I played club with those girls and I really like them. It’s fun winning, but then I feel bad.”
The rivalry with Mossyrock has been a story throughout the season. The teams have been splitting time atop the state coaches poll, and have only lost matches to each other this season.
“When you have the opportunity to play a great team, it elevates your play and it forces your players to play harder and you always want that competition,” Dailey said. “Wins are great, but when you can win against a great team, that makes it even more special. We don’t want to shy away from any competition.”
Napavine has the talent and ability to go all the way. After placing fourth last year, the highest in school history, the Tigers hope to set another record this season.
“First and foremost, you always want to place. You want to make it to that second day where you have the opportunity to place, but if we’re not going for the top goal, then what’s the use of being there?” Dailey said. “With this group of girls, we have the opportunity but are we going to take advantage of the chances we get and perform the way we need to to obtain that goal? There’s other teams there, everybody there is shooting for the same goal, and there’s other teams there that are very skilled teams that we have to make sure we take care of and do our job and if we don’t, then that’s the way it is.”