A hot first half of the Greater Spokane League volleyball season has made way for a tepid second round for University High. The Titans, 6-2 at one point in league season, have lost four of their last six games and dropped into fifth place in the standings.
Included was a loss to Central Valley, only the Bears’ second win of the season.
Trailing two games to one, the Bears rallied for the win on Crystal Lee’s 14 kills and 14 digs, and Rikki Jackson’s eight blocks.
CV coach Laurie Henry said she had mixed feelings about the outcome if only because of her friendship with U-Hi coach Rik Austing.
“It was hard,” she said. “I don’t like to beat someone I adore.”
But it wasn’t a victory the Bears would relinquish for the sake of harmony. It has been a good second half for CV which lost to Shadle Park in five games, Lewis and Clark and unbeaten Gonzaga Prep in four.
“We’re coming on,” said Henry. “Too bad it’s at the end of the season. The players see what they can do.”
The young Bears start three juniors, including Lee, and a sophomore, Jackson.
“We’re 100 percent above last year,” said Henry. “Let’s see if we can pick off a few more teams.”
University, which clinched a playoff berth Tuesday night with victory over Mead, is one-half match behind two schools in the competition for third through fifth places.
Eagle gridders think one at a time
Friday’s tie with rival East Valley was dramatic in its scope but meaningful for West Valley.
WV matched EV score for score, right down to the game-ending field goal by Jason Whitney with nine seconds remaining.
“We’re still excited to be in the race,” said Eagle coach Steve Kent. He said the defensive effort of Joe Andrews on Knight receiver Kyle LeGrant helped WV gain the tie. EV had only one passing completion in the game. The other defensive key was the ability of WV’s linebackers to limit Jesse Ewell to a season low rushing game.
West Valley hosts Clarkston Friday and Kent is concerned about a team that moved the football well in a loss to unbeaten Cheney, the Eagle’s season-ending opponent.
Freeman football’s downs and ups
Freeman’s football team has had dramatic turns of fortune during a volatile six weeks.
The 2-4 Scotties were outscored 137-53 during four losses, and have outscored their foes 69-20 during the wins.
Including was last week’s 40-14 victory over Medical Lake that included two straight Marc Reed touchdowns followed in succession by three Brandon Miller TD runs.
The pair combined for 216 rushing yards and quarterback Matt Smith added 96 more yards of total offense.
The early schedule was not kind to Freeman, whose losses have come against teams with a combined 22-3 record and first place in three different leagues.
Included were losses to Northeast A co-leaders Chewelah and Lakeside.
“We played probably the best team in Idaho (St. Maries), outplayed Lakeside but got ripped on officiating and are disappointed we didn’t beat Chewelah,” said coach John Custer. “The loss to Tekoa-Oakesdale was our low point.”
Already outsized by most teams, Freeman also was working its way through injuries forcing Custer to change his offensive look.
“We played without our two best running backs the first two games and have lost Nick Schuerman for the year,” Custer said.
Wins in their final three games, beginning with Deer Park at home on Friday, would produce at least a third-place NEA finish for the Scotties.
Soccer showdowns today
The four-team knot in Frontier League soccer will be loosened a bit with a pair of important games today.
Co-leaders East Valley and Riverside attempt to break their tie at EV at 4 p.m. The leaders are three points ahead of the Eagles.
Third-place West Valley is at fourth-place Cheney with the winner standing to gain ground.