Back to Yakima for Indians

Colville annexes regionalTop-ranked Colville High rolled through the Region 6/7 volleyball tournament at Chelan last Saturday, beating Cascade 25-15, 25-12, 25-20 and then downing Freeman (for the fourth time this season) in the regional championship, 25-21, 25-9, 25-19.Jacy Vining had nine kills and six blocks for the Indians, and setter Leanna Carr added 27 assists in the Freeman win. In the win over Cascade, Carr had 31 assists and Benchwarmer’s Athlete of the Week, Erin Little, added 10 blocks, eight ace serves and 20 kills in the two matches.Unbeaten Colville is the only team to have beaten Freeman this season.Colville, who finished fifth in last year’s 1A tournament after being upset in their opener by LaSalle (Yakima), opens tournament play at 9:45 a.m. in the Yakima SunDome on Friday against Annie Wright School (Seattle).Tough Freeman, a team that could easily wind up in the 1A championship match Saturday night in Yakima, pulled the stunner of the regional tournament by beating second-ranked and defending 1A champion Chelan, 25-19, 25-23, 25-16 to gain the finale against Colville.The Scotties are making their first trip to State since 2009.Tough opening round draw features second and third-ranked teamsChelan eliminated CTL rival Cascade to earn the region’s third berth to State.Because top CTL seed Chelan lost in the regional, the Goats drew as tough a State opener as a team could get. Chelan will open tournament play Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. against third-ranked King’s.Colville is in the same tournament bracket as Chelan and King’s. “Freeman could go through their half of the bracket and get to the championship,” CHS head coach Missy Bennett said as she looked at the opening round pairings. “We are in the tough bracket.”At least the Indians don’t have to face King’s or Chelan in their tournament lid-lifter.Bennett was critical of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s “blind draw.” “They (officials) don’t see the tournament as much as they draw the tournament,” Bennett said of the tournament draw. “It’s a blind draw by district. There is no common sense in the draw. Why would you put those two teams in a first-round game? Stupid is—as stupid does sometimes. Some so-called blind draws are blinder than others. This one would seem to be downright myopic in its lack of logic. Of course, the WIAA doesn’t pay attention to fan-fare and rankings.They are just pulling out rabbits and district teams out of a hat. Maybe they should pay more attention to detail and rankings. It’s unfortunate that two of the top-ranked teams in the state have to play each other in the opener Friday morning. If Colville can take care of business, they will likely see the winner of that Chelan vs. King’s match-up in the semifinals on Saturday. Mental toughness Bennett knows her team is a favorite to win it all in Yakima. She’s comfortable with that.“I felt like we were the favorite last year too,” she said. “Last year, that affected us. This year, we are stronger…mentally, I feel like we are way different (than last season’s team that was dumped by LaSalle). There is no sense of panic. We just play with a mental toughness. That loss to LaSalle last year really galvanized us.“The girls are kind of on a mission. We were devastated by that loss to LaSalle. We’re bound and determined that won’t happen this year.”REGIONAL RECAPBennett, who conceded to knowing next to nothing about Annie Wright, was pleased with the way her team took care of business—in business-like fashion--last Saturday.“That was a fun day,” she conceded. “We came out loose and loud against Cascade. It was nice to be able to play somebody new…it was a good team effort.”Colville got another balanced team effort in the win. Five CHS players had eight kills or more.Colville played well in the title match-up. Freeman—not so much.“Freeman really played flawlessly against Chelan,” Bennett thought. “They had some trouble against us.”It didn’t help any that Freeman’s coach got pretty much every color card an official could pull out of another “blind draw” in the title match-up. Freeman got off to a fast start against Colville, leading 15-5 before the Indians started chipping away.“Once we were able to tie it, the wind kind of went out of their sails,” Bennett said of Freeman. Bennett said she appreciates the balance her veteran team is showing at this juncture of the season. The solid play was even more impressive considering that a spate of illness is working its way through the team.1A PAIRINGSThe 1A, 1B and 2B tournaments will all be played Friday and Saturday at the SunDome.Naches Valley vs. Freeman, 8 a.m.Life Christian vs. Castle Rock, 8 a.m.Ridgefield vs. Lynden Christian, 8 a.m.Overlake vs. Zillah, 8 a.m.LaSalle vs. Montesano, 9:45 a.m.Annie Wright vs. Colville, 9:45 a.m.Kalama vs. Cedar Park Christian, 9:45 a.m.Chelan vs. King’s, 9:45 a.m.