A single state berth will be on the line this Saturday during the Yakima Valley District 5 Class 1B Tournament at Goldendale High School.
Klickitat locked up the top seed and a first-round bye in the tournament last week with Greater Columbia B League sweeps of Lyle and Sunnyside Christian.
The Vandals (8-1 in league, 9-2 overall) will meet the winner of the Trout Lake/Glenwood-Sunnyside Christian preliminary for the district's one berth in the first-ever state 1B tournament, which is set for Nov. 10-11 at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane.
The district gets just the one state tourney spot--out of 16 statewide--because of its size; it has only four 1B volleyball teams (Klickitat, Trout Lake/Glenwood, Bickleton and Sunnyside Christian), the fewest of any district in the state.
A return to the state tournament would be a nice way to go out for Vandals Coach Kirk Huwe, who is in his 26th and final season as Klickitat's volleyball coach. If his team accomplishes the feat, he said, it will be a tribute to their work ethic.
"We may have only eight girls out this year; however, they are a hard-working group that I am very proud of," Huwe noted.
The Vandals are led by their three seniors, Trisheena Keys, Melissa Huwe and Aryn Davis.
"I knew going into my final season we had a great returning group of seniors," Huwe said. " Trisheena is a great passer. Melissa is leading the team in serving at 97 percent and in saves, and Aryn is one of the best hitters around."
As good as the seniors have been this season, though, Huwe said it's been the continual improvement of the team's young players that has been "one of the keys to this year's success."
Sophomore Kali Linville has been a pillar in the Vandals' attack because of her "great hands," which have helped her become "a very athletic setter," Huwe said.
Klickitat also has gotten solid play from junior Kim Odle, freshmen Tia Spino and Zoe Lindner, and eighth-grader Samantha Brewer.
"When Tia moved to the libero position, it helped solidify our back row," Huwe said. "Zoe has done a great job at the outside hitting position, and Samantha has improved every week since moving to the middle position."
Trout Lake/Glenwood and Sunnyside Christian played twice during the regular season, with each winning once. In the second meeting, the Eagles (4-5, 7-7) defeated the Knights (5-4, 8-6) in five sets.
On Saturday, the familiar, evenly matched foes will play another best-of-five series for the right to meet Klickitat in the district final. Their loser-out match begins at 11 a.m.
TLG will need standout play from its own seniors to get past Sunnyside. This season, Kim Poland, Jessica Knowles, Michelle Winston, Brandi Reynoso and Ashley St. George have been constants in Eagles Coach Kerri Smith's lineup.
Other key contributors have included juniors Dave'y Lumley and Alura Gilliland, and sophomores Allison Skahan, Kari Hunt, Heather Huffsmith and Emily Brasuell.
At Klickitat 3, Sunnyside Christian 0:
The Vandals closed out the 2006 regular season last Friday by defeating the Knights in straight sets, 25-13, 25-18, 25-20.
Aryn Davis led the Vandals' attack, scoring 19 kills in 30 attempts. Samantha Brewer also had a big match at the net with five blocks and two kills. Melissa Huwe added four kills in 10 attempts. Overall, the Vandals recorded 29 kills in 57 chances and had six blocks.
Kali Linville aided the Vandals' attack by passing for 17 assists.
At the service line, Klickitat served right at its season average, connecting on 85 percent of its attempts (64 of 75).
Nearly 15 percent of its serves went unreturned as the Vandals finished the match with 11 service aces.
Linville (14/15) and Zoe Lindner (13/14) each scored three aces, while Trisheena Keys (9/9) and Tia Spino both served two aces. Lindner's three scoring serves gave her a team-leading 20 for the season.
Klickitat 3, at Lyle 0:
The Vandals improved to 7-1 in league play with the Oct. 17 straight-sets victory over the Cougars.
Klickitat prevailed by scores of 25-10, 25-14, 25-17.
Aryn Davis, Trisheena Keys, Melissa Huwe, Kali Linville and Zoe Lindner played pivotal roles in helping lead Klickitat to the win.
Davis registered 14 kills in 22 attempts, and had three blocks and two service aces, while Keys served four aces during a 10-for-12 performance at the service line.
Huwe contributed two aces while going 22 for 22 at the service line, three kills and two saves to the winning effort, Linville chipped in with three kills, one save and 13 assists, and Lindner did a little of everything (19/20 serving, one ace, four kills, one block, one save, one assist).
As a team, Klickitat scored on 28-of-51 kill attempts (55 percent) and served at a 90-percent clip (64/71, 9 aces).