Lake City goes after elusive first state title
Lake City volleyball coach Bret Taylor looked at the gym wall that features league, district and state accomplishments for each sport.
Any sport that has won a state championship has a gold plaque. There is no gold plaque in volleyball.
“You look up there on that wall where it says volleyball and they went after the league title and they got it,” Taylor said. “They went after the district title and they got it. State? Who knows? It would be nice to put a gold plaque up there. This group, if they put their mind to it, they could.”
Lake City (19-5) will get a chance starting Friday when the 5A State tournament is held 3 miles across town at Coeur d’Alene High. The Timberwolves open against District III runner-up Vallivue (14-3) at 10 a.m.
Post Falls (30-7) is making its third consecutive trip to state, and the Trojans’ aspirations are no less than LC’s. Post Falls opens in the afternoon against Eagle (18-15), a play-in qualifier and fifth seed from District III, at 3.
LC split with Post Falls in league and topped the Trojans in the regional final. The teams are evenly matched and have played competitive schedules that should have them ready for state.
Defending champ Rocky Mountain (18-6) and state runner-up Idaho Falls (31-7) return, but they’re reportedly not as strong as they were a year ago.
State appears wide open.
LC and PF can attack teams from many angles. They also play solid defense and serve well.
The T-Wolves are led by seniors Jennifer Schuman (outside hitter), Camille Rounds (setter), MacKenzie Brown (libero), Kelly Jo Cutler (middle blocker), Carly Farrell (MB) and Katie Winger (defensive specialist), along with juniors Kylie Curtis (OH) and Kasey Widmyer. Two freshmen come off the bench.
Schuman and Curtis are especially effective behind the service line. Taylor appreciates the fact that the two take risks not only hitting but serving.
“They’ve progressively gotten better by taking risks,” Taylor said. “When you take risks you’re only going to get better.”
Post Falls is led by seniors Tori Bertsch (setter), Allison Meehan (S/OH), Ashley Jibby (OH), Jazmin Chavez (DS) and juniors Danielle Failor (MB), Brooke Litalian (libero) and Savannah Hill (OH).
The Trojans were disappointed not to win league or district, but they can rectify a season marked by adversity by faring well at state.
“The fact is we’re going to state,” PF coach Willow Hanna said. “We have to take care of business there. We get to start over and work on some things to get ready for state. Sometimes our girls don’t know how good they are. There are times when we look good and times when we kind of let down for a little bit. We’ve got to find a happy balance for where that intensity is and the level we’re going to play at and maintain that for 25 points. We can make some noise at state.”
4A: Traditional power Sandpoint returns.
Sandpoint (15-11) opens against another traditional power, Bonneville (27-9), at 1 p.m. at Post Falls High School.
3A: This is St. Maries’ final year in 3A before dropping to 2A next year.
The Lumberjacks want to grab some more hardware to go in a crowded trophy case. St. Maries (24-8) opens against District VI champ Sugar-Salem at 8 at Lake City High School.
Joining St. Maries at state is Priest River (13-8), which takes on District III champ Fruitland at 1.
1A Division I: Lakeside (13-7) faces Challis in an opener at Lewis-Clark State College.
1A Division II: Clark Fork (20-4) goes against Tri-Valley at Lewiston High School.