East Valley Spikers Shake Off Injuries, Qualify For State
A week that had ominous beginnings ended with spectacular results.
Injuries to a pair of East Valley volleyball team members that threatened the players’ ability to participate in the district tournament, gave way to a shocking state qualification effort by the team in Clarkston.
Runnersup in the regular season, EV swept three straight matches, including two over Frontier League champion Clarkston on the Bantams’ home court.
“The kids just played great,” said first-year coach Jim Dorr, architect of the triumph. “It was a matter of circumstances.”
Angela Overdorff fractured an elbow and Farrah Parsley injured a knee prior to the Frontier League district tournament.
“It was bad news at that point in time,” said Dorr, who thought both would be unable to play. “The good news is we learned that both could.”
Last Friday, on the way to the tournament, EV conducted a practice at Colton High School.
“It was our most enthusiastic practice all year,” said Dorr. “The place just echoed.”
East Valley began by beating third-place West Valley 15-5, 14-16, 15-7. Included was near-flawless hitting by nine players, including Parsley, Anji Blindauer and Deb Asbury.
Next day the Knights stunned Clarkston 9-15, 15-8, 15-11 in the semifinals and it continued in their 15-6, 15-13 championship triumph over the Bantams.
“The main thing is we took away Clarkston’s tips and made them go with what they hadn’t done - hit against us consistently,” Dorr said.
EV kept a stunning 93 percent of its hits in play and converted 43 percent of those into kills.
“Anything above 30 percent is outstanding,” said Dorr.
Blindauer had a dozen kills in the semifinal win and 20 for the series. Parsley had a total of 15 kills and Asbury 14. Overdorff had nine kills in the semis.
Setters Jennifer Tilton and Jenny Kann combined on 77 assists and eight other players contributed.
EV was also successful on 88 percent of its passes and serves.
Dorr had coached volleyball at Soap Lake and had been an assistant at East Valley before taking over the head coaching position this year.
The Knights are making their first state appearance since 1990.
“Maybe losing during the season isn’t bad. Part of the growth process is fixing things,” said Dorr. “To see how happy the girls were was a thrill. It makes it all worth while.”
The football season didn’t end the way three Valley teams wished.
During a trio of losses, East Valley, West Valley and University allowed a total of 121 points.
“I surrender,” quipped EV coach Jim Clements, whose 6-2-1 Knights had their best season in years yet absorbed a 49-7 shellacking at the hands of unbeaten Central Valley.
“They’ve got me convinced,” he said. “I’m going to go to their game and see if any team can beat them.”
The Bears averaged 40.2 points per game this year and scored under 30 just once.
“The 29 against Mead was our lowest output and we missed two field goals,” said CV coach Rick Giampietri. “This is a potent offensive team.”
West Valley, which finished the season with a 30-10 loss to Cheney and a 4-4-1 record for the second straight year, was done in by injuries.
Already lacking in depth, the Eagles’ first lost to Riverside when middle linebacker Ty Gregorak tore a ligament in his knee.
A starter since his freshman year, Gregorak has been the team’s leading tackler for three seasons.
“He was our spiritual leader,” said coach Steve Kent.
The good news is, it was the medial collateral ligament which does not require surgery. Gregorak said he will be back in eight weeks for basketball.
Friday, with WV leading 10-7 late in the second quarter, the other Eagle middle linebacker, Will Herndon, broke his leg.
He was having an all-league season, said Kent. All things considered, the Eagles held up well against the league champs.
“Especially when two of the best linebackers in the league are on the sidelines,” said Kent.
If University had it to do over again, perhaps the Titans would opt for all their games on artificial turf.
They were 4-2 at Albi Stadium and a couple of yards away from at least tying league runnerup Mead when that game ended.
At home, U-Hi was 0-3 and outscored 123-20. Included was Friday’s season-ending 42-0 loss to Lewis and Clark.
State cross country placers
West Valley’s boys and University girls teams brought home trophies from state cross country meets.
The Eagles, who have made a habit of finishing second in state, did so again against favored Gig Harbor.
Clayton Holmes finished 10th overall in 15:25 and the other WV scorers finished between 15:45 and 16:04, including seniors Levi Lounder (15:45), Allen Watke (15:57), Matt Wheeler and freshman Sean McLachlan, both 16:04.
The latter was the second fastest freshman time in state.
East Valley’s Chris Henderson was 13th in 15:27 and teammate Dustin Sletner ran 15:57.
U-Hi’s girls were fourth. Their runners finished within 12 seconds of each other between 25th and 36th places.
Shanna Delong completed a storybook two weeks as the Titan leader in 18:35 after running between third and fifth on the team for most of the season.
Other scorers were Taraka Campbell (28th in 18:40), Kelly Kearsley (32nd, 18:44), Jaime Miller (35th, 18:51) and Lindsay Daehlin (36th, 18:52).
CV’s Jenni Saling was tucked in between, finishing 33rd in 18:47.
West Valley senior Heather Harmon finished with a flourish in eighth place at 18:09 and junior Jessica Riehle was 10th in 18:12.
In the A-B race, Freeman’s Becky Brown ran 20:02 and finished 25th, up from 42nd the previous year.