LACEY, Wash. – The league that has dominated Washington high school volleyball went home this weekend with a collective 2-8 record.
For those who wondered what happened to the Greater Spokane League, veteran Shadle Park coach Brooke Meyer had a simple answer.
“We’ve never been here,” Meyer said after the Highlanders ended the GSL’s stay at the State 3A tournament Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 loss to Oak Harbor at Saint Martin’s University. “Your coaches can go and you can tell (the players) what it’s going to be like and feel like, but until they’re experiencing it … that’s what it was. None of the kids had been here. (Three) of the coaches had never been here.”
It was a frustrating two days – or less for Mead and University – for a league that boasts 18 state championships at the 4A and 3A levels. At the 3A event, Shadle finished 1-2 and U-Hi went 0-2. Central Valley (23-10) finished 1-2 at the 4A tourney, including Saturday morning’s 3-1 loss to Kentwood, and Mead went 0-2.
CV’s Amanda Bailey, Mead’s Elaina Renius and U-Hi’s Mike Summers all made their state coaching debuts. No Shadle or U-Hi players had competed at state; CV had two holdovers from the 2011 state-qualifying team; and Mead’s senior players were mostly backups to last year’s state runner-up team.
Shadle (23-8) struggled against Oak Harbor senior Kayleigh Harper, a 6-foot-3 middle blocker. The Highlanders led the third game 21-18, but Harper had three kills and a block as the Wildcats polished off the match.
“We changed it up in the middle of the second game we went to a 5-1 with Amanda (Konynenbelt),” Meyer said. “We just kept throwing things out there to see what would finally work.”
Konynenbelt, who had 16 assists, six kills and three aces, is one of seven seniors on the roster. Meyer said Shadle had strong junior varsity and freshman programs this year.
“I hope that they enjoyed their season and their journey,” Meyer said. “That’s what it’s all about. A trip to state, and you play on the very last day that you can possibly play.”
CV’s loser-out match started at 8 a.m. The Bears won the third game 25-20 and pushed the Conquerors in the final game (25-21).
Junior Kazlyn Roullier had 10 kills and sophomore Jade Rockwood added 13 assists and three blocks for the Bears.
CV also went 1-2 during its other state appearance, in 2011.
CV’s roster of 14 has just two seniors: libero Natalie Ford and MH Alaina Gentili.