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

State volleyball preview: Top-ranked Oakesdale seeking threepeat as 1B champs

By Madison McCord For The Spokesman-Review

After an unbeaten league campaign and a perfect run through the district playoffs, Oakesdale volleyball finds itself in a familiar position.

State tournament favorites.

“We’ve talk about being in this position before and everyone wants to be the one to beat us and get a piece of what we have,” Oakesdale coach McKinzie Turner said. “We have to outwork everyone, we have to control what we can and go in with the best attitude and effort.”

The top-seeded Nighthawks will look to win their third-straight 1B state title when the 20-team tournament begins Wednesday at the Yakima Valley SunDome in Yakima.

Oakesdale (20-0) has won 10 of the 16 titles since the 1B classification was created, with four of the titles coming as Tekoa-Oakesdale. The Nighthawks are once again on the opposite side of the bracket as fellow state power Mossyrock – which Oakesdale defeated in the past two title games. But there are also plenty of familiar foes looking to dethrone the Nighthawks.

Fellow Southeast 1B member St. John Endicott-LaCrosse is also in the field, along with the Northeast 1B quartet of Almira/Coulee-Hartline, Northport, Odessa and Springdale.

“Districts 7 and 9 both have very strong histories at state and we have played a lot of these teams over here and they are tough,” Turner said.

The Nighthawks will begin their title defense against the winner of the DeSales/Willapa Valley match. Other local first-round games include No. 4 Almira/Coulee-Hartline vs. either Pope John Paul II or Mt. Vernon Christian, (6) Northport vs. (11) Entiat, (10) St. John Endicott-LaCrosse vs. (7) Waterville-Mansfield, (12) Springdale vs. (5) Liberty Christian and (9) Odessa vs. (8) Orcas Island.

The 1B title game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

• Colfax leads 2B contingent: Third-seeded Colfax (16-3) is one of three teams from the Northeast 2B league seeking a state title this week, joined by fifth-seeded Lind-Ritzville-Sprague (17-2) and No. 12-seed Liberty (12-5) at the SunDome beginning Wednesday.

The Bulldogs open against Walla Walla Valley Academy and are on the opposite side of the bracket from top-seeded Adna.

LRS opens against No. 12 Coupville, while the Lancers will try to upset fourth-seeded Goldendale.

The 2B title game is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Tough draws for Shadle, Pullman

After sweeping league champion Shadle Park in the district title game, Pullman’s reward is a possible second-round showdown with a 2A state tournament favorite.

Not that the Highlanders fared much better in the draw.

The eighth-seeded Greyhounds (13-6) open against No. 9 Enumclaw on Friday afternoon at the SunDome, but could face top-seeded Columbia River in the second round.

The Highlanders (15-2) earned the No. 10 seed and face No. 7 Tumwater in their opener. A win could setup a showdown with second-seeded Lynden – the team Pullman upset in the second round of last year’s tournament.

The 2A championship is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday.

• Freeman earns sixth seed in 1A bracket: After an unbeaten run through league play, Freeman earned the No. 6 seed into this weekend’s 1A state tournament at the SunDome.

The Scotties (15-3) open against No. 11 Toppenish on Friday, with a possible matchup against third-seeded Cedar Park Christian waiting in the second round. The Scotties are on the opposite side of the draw from top-seeded Chelan.

Lakeside (13-6) is the only other representative from the Northeast 1A league and earned the ninth seed. The Eagles open against No. 8 King’s and could face the top-seeded Mountain Goats in the second round.

The 1A champion will be crowned at 6:15 p.m. Saturday.