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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


GSL’s first year of volleyball a learning experience

The first year of Greater Spokane League volleyball in September of 1976 encompassed the formative years for girls athletics. Ten schools, including Marycliff, inaugurated the new league. Each school only played one league game against each opponent, for a total of nine.

The rules for volleyball were different from the present day. The matches were best of three, with 15 points being the winning total for a game. In those days, you could only score points when your team had the serve.

Ferris and Shadle Park were the powers that season. Ferris was coached by Dee Servoss and Linda Sheridan was in the early stages of her legendary coaching career at Shadle. Jeanne Kinney at Ferris and Highlander, Denise Schlepp, were two of the top players for their respective schools.

In their one and only league match-up, Ferris easily won over the Highlanders, 15-1, 15-8. They finished undefeated with Shadle right behind.

Many schools were just starting athletics for girls, so with the limited number of teams available, the classifications in Washington State combined for playoff purposes. The playoffs for the GSL schools were a combined AAA-AA competition.

Ferris continued its winning ways, taking the District title from Shadle Park, West Valley and Cheney. Shadle Park topped Cheney for the second spot to the AAA-AA Tournament in Renton.

It was Ferris’ second straight trip, Shadle’s first. Before the formation of the GSL, Ferris’ 1975 trip was the only one for a city school. University, Mead and East Valley had all made earlier appearances since the first tournament in 1973. No Spokane area school had been competitive at State, and that continued in 1976, as both Ferris and Shadle Park fell to west side teams in the early rounds.

In future years the GSL would come to dominate state volleyball, but in 1976 that success was still a few years away.

Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce is a sports blogger who writes the weekly nwprepsnow prep sports almanac.

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