The format will likely overshadow the form at the Idaho state volleyball tournaments this weekend.
The Idaho High School Activities Association voted to change the format from double elimination to single elimination to the state title match with a consolation bracket.
No longer can a team lose a first-round match – or any match prior to the state final, for that matter – and be able to bounce back through the loser’s bracket and win a state title.
Coaches aren’t fans of the change.
“I think it’s unfortunate that it’s not a true double-elimination tournament, especially in this sport,” Post Falls coach Willow Hanna said. “In volleyball we can play five matches in a day. You see it in club you see it at tournaments like the Crossover (Classic in Spokane). It kind of seems like the state (IHSAA) continues to limit our state experience. They got rid of the Parade of Athletes a couple of years ago.”
IHSAA executive director John Billetz understands coaches are dissatisfied.
“In the real world, all of our state tournaments should be double elimination,” Billetz said. “I know the coaches aren’t happy about it. I wouldn’t be either if I was a coach.”
Billetz said it’s a two-year experiment that will be re-evaluated.
“The thing about state volleyball is the only match that’s on time is the first match,” Billetz said.
“After the first match it seems like the whole tournament’s behind schedule.”
Format aside, Post Falls (28-6) heads to state for a second straight year. The Trojans take on District III runner-up Boise (15-15) in an opener Friday at Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls.
The Trojans graduated five starters off a team last year that made its first trip to state since 1991.
The core that returned for Hanna expects to fare better this weekend. The Trojans won their opener last year but exited after two straight losses.
“I think we’re going to do excellent,” junior outside hitter Ashley Jibby said. “We’re a lot stronger team than last year.”
Junior setter Tori Bertsch also has high hopes.
“We lost a lot of people from last year, but I think we’ve got a lot of fight,” Bertsch said. “We just need to keep playing hard.”
“We expect a better result,” Hanna said. “We want to go down and perform better. Hopefully, we’ll pick up one more win than last year, if not more. We want to bring home some hardware. We were one match away from that last year.”
• In 4A, perennial qualifier Sandpoint (15-6) returns to state.
Sandpoint takes on Rigby (34-7) when the tourney begins Friday at Kimberly High School.
• In 3A, St. Maries (24-5) returned to the top of the state heap last year, and the Lumberjacks are favored to stay there.
St. Maries opens against traditional qualifier Bear Lake when the tourney begins Friday at Wendell High School.
• In 1A Division I, Lakeside of Plummer (12-1) faces Challis when the tourney opens Friday at Declo High School.
• In 1A Division II, Clark Fork (11-4) meets Tri-Valley when the tourney opens Friday at Burley High School.