Jacy Vining picks up a point. Behind her is teammate Chantel Nussbaum.
But Indians face
Itâ€™s Homecoming Week at Colville High School and that means fall sportsâ€™ coaches are wondering how their athletes will react to all that pomp, circumstance and distraction.
CHS volleyball coach Missy Bennett, whose Indians are unbeaten in Great Northern League action and havenâ€™t lost a game, much less a match this fall to date, isnâ€™t going on the record to say she has no use for Homecoming. But coaches will worry about focus and not whoâ€™s on the Homecoming royalty or who has/hasnâ€™t got a date to the Homecoming dance.
â€śThere are distractions,â€ť Bennett said on Monday as her third-ranked Indians prepared to host East Valley (8-2, 8-4) on Tuesday before heading to Pullman (7-2, 7-4) on Thursday (7 p.m. start).
Colville will end the regular season on Saturday with a home date against Clarkston (2-8, 2-8). That match is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start.
Two games up
The Indians have a two game lead in the loss column over Pullman and East Valley with three GNL matches left on the schedule.
Colville will host a second round game in the GNL District 7 2A Tournament on Oct. 24. If CHS can hold serve and win the GNL championship, they will host the GNL District tourney on Oct. 27.
The top two finishers from the GNL District Tournament will play crossover matches against the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds from the Central Washington Athletic Association.
GNL No. 1 will host CWAC No. 4 in a loser-out match. The winner will advance to the State 2A Tournament at Pierce College as the No. 2 seed. GNL No. 2 will travel to CWAC No. 3 and play a loser-out match. The winner will advance to the State 2A Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
The CWAC holds all the cards
In a scenario that is heavily weighted in the CWACâ€™s favor, that leagueâ€™s No. 1 and No. 2 teams will get automatic No. 1 and No. 3 berths to the state tournament.
No, you donâ€™t want to get Bennett on the record about how unfair this yearâ€™s playoff schedule with the CWAC is for the GNL.
â€śIâ€™ve already said enough,â€ť Bennett figured. â€śIt doesnâ€™t take a lot to figure out itâ€™s not a fair tournament (set-up).â€ť
At home back on Oct. 9, Colville easily dispatched cellar-dwelling Deer Park, 25-10, 25-10, 25-11 behind senior outside hitter Joellee Bucknerâ€™s 16 kills and six ace serves.
Senior setter Leanna Carr had 26 assists and Jacy Vining and Sadie Learn both had six digs.
On Thursday at West Valley (2-8, 2-9), Colville took care of business, burying the Eagles, 25-13, 25-20, 25-7.
In that match, Buckner had 14 kills and two blocks. Carr had 30 assists.
Bennett was pleased with her teamâ€™s play against Deer Park. Not so much at West Valley.
â€śI thought we were very sharp against Deer Park,â€ť Bennett said. â€śIn that match, Joellee (Buckner) was on fire. She played well again against West Valley.
Not sharp at WV
â€śI thought we were all sharp and played a clean game against Deer Parkâ€¦it was just the opposite against West Valley. I didnâ€™t think we were as prepared emotionally as we should have been (against WV)â€¦we werenâ€™t as engaged as we should have been.â€ť
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The Indians, who have experienced more than their share of injuries this fall, saw junior Tyra Brons go down with an ankle injury against Deer Park. She didnâ€™t play against West Valley, but should be back in action this week.
Earlier this season, CHS lost junior middle hitter Aubrey Buckner to a season-ending knee injury. And junior middle hitter Chantel Nussbaum is rounding back into shape after injuring her ankle last month.
Despite the most rigorous GNL week of the season to date, Colville has its sights set on a third straight league championship. The Indians won two straight Northeast A League titles and the 2011 State 1A championship before moving back up to 2A.
The Indians are 24-1 to date.
While Bennett is usually loathe to pay much attention to stat lines, she did find out late last week what her career record at CHS is. To say the least, one of the stateâ€™s top high school volleyball coaches has had an impressive run at Colville.
But then we knew that alreadyâ€”before the numbers were revealed.
Bennett, in her 27th season at CHS, is 609-236 in that span.
â€śI guess there is something to be said for longevity,â€ť she quipped. â€śI was fortunate enough to come into a very good setting here. I have had great kids and my parents have allowed me to push their kids to be successful. That wouldnâ€™t happen everywhere.â€ť
In volleyball matches back on Oct. 9 involving GNL teams, West Valley downed Clarkston, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17 and, in a battle for second place in the GNL, Pullman held off East Valley, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 25-14.
Last Thursday night, East Valley downed Cheney, 25-19, 25-23, 25-20 and Clarkston downed Deer Park, 25-20, 19-25, 17-25, 25-9, 15-9.