Call it deja vu without the vu.
Ferris coach Stacy Ward believes the Greater Spokane League can repeat last year’s performance in the first Eastern AAA Regional volleyball tournament, but she doesn’t want an exact repeat.
A year ago, the GSL swept all three state berths available in the tournament, which features the top four from both the GSL and Big Nine. But the GSL team staying home was the league and district champ, Gonzaga Prep.
“I think the Gonzaga Prep thing, we’ve all been aware of that,” said Ward, whose Saxons were undefeated in league this season before winning the district title - just like G-Prep had. “I think that has served as a good lesson to us to recognize that when you step on court at regionals all the matches that you’ve played before don’t mean anything.
“I don’t want my kids to think of themselves as Gonzaga Prep. We’ve worked pretty well as a unit and I think we can continue to do that.”
Ferris won the regional last year, with North Central second and Lewis and Clark third. NC went on to beat LC for the state title. Ferris was seventh.
The regional begins at 7 p.m. Friday with Ferris playing Big Nine No. 4 Eisenhower at University and LC playing Big Nine No. 3 Walla Walla at Central Valley. The 8:30 matches are Mead vs. Big Nine No. 2 Pasco at U-Hi and Rogers against Big Nine champion Davis at CV.
The tournament continues at both sites on Saturday, although it wraps up in the evening at U-Hi.
The Big Nine has not fared well against the GSL all year and after last year’s regional sweep, the big fear for the GSL is overconfidence.
“There’s always a danger of that,” Ward said. “We know what our ultimate goal is but we can’t be looking down the road.”
NC was fourth in the league and district before becoming state champion. Ward believes any GSL team could fill that role this year.
“LC and Davis and Mead are most likely to step into that role, although you can’t count out Rogers,” she said.
The state tournament is Nov. 15-16 at the Arena.
East Valley, the unbeaten Frontier League champion and district host, should earn one of two berths to the Nov. 15-16 state tournament at Pacific Lutheran University. The Knights, last year’s lone state representative from the Frontier, start the district tournament at 7 p.m. Friday against No. 4 Clarkston.
Friday’s 8:30 match pits No. 2 Colville against No. 3 Pullman. Colville may have an edge for the second spot to state because the Indians are 3-1 against Clarkston and Pullman. The tourney wraps up Saturday afternoon.
Defending state champion Colfax appears assured of a return to the Nov. 15-16 tournament at Chelan. The Bulldogs, unbeaten in league, begin district play at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at Central Valley against the Deer Park/Lakeside winner.
Newport, which also opens at 3:15, is favored for the other state berth. The Grizzlies won every league match except their two with Colfax. Matches at 4:30 and 6 Saturday will determine berths.
Panorama League champion Northwest Christian attempts to buck a trend when it opens the tourney at 3 today at Cheney High.
Just two Panorama teams have advanced to state since 1977. Bi-County League teams have advanced in flock from this district to win the last nine state titles.
Davenport of the Bi-Co is top seed. Three berths are available for the Nov. 15-16 state tournament at Eastern Washington University. The championship match is at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by the No. 3-to-state match.
Whitman County co-champs St. John-Endicott and TekoaOakesdale play at noon Saturday in Pullman for a berth in the title match. SJE reached state in ‘95.
Waitsburg and Blue Mountain champ Pomeroy also aim for one of two state berths. The final match, for No. 2 to state, is set for 6 Saturday night.