A highly regarded Klickitat team began defense of its Yakima Valley Class 1B volleyball championship Wednesday at Goldendale High School.
The Vandals earned the Greater Columbia B League's top seed in this week's district tournament by going undefeated during the league campaign. Klickitat opened against Trout Lake/Glenwood, the No. 4 seed. The day's other opening-round match pitted No. 2 Bickleton, the league's most improved team, against No. 3 Sunnyside Christian.
At stake is the Yakima Valley District's one berth in next weekend's WIAA Class 1B Tournament in the Yakima SunDome. (The district had two berths last season and will have two again in 2009; it shares a berth that every other year goes to the North Central District.)
The double-elimination district tournament concludes Saturday in Goldendale. (See bracket in box for details). The 16-team state tournament will run Nov. 14-15.
Klickitat is led by senior setter Kali Fargher, junior outside hitter Zoe Lindner and sophomore middle blocker Samantha Brewer--the same trio that led the Vandals to a seventh-place trophy at last year's 1B championship.
Moreover, second-year Vandals Coach Jaecee Hoctor has been able to count on junior Tia Spino, sophomore Brenda Lambert, freshman Martisha Woodall, and eighth-graders Ashley Meeks, Cassie Clack and Chelci Curtis for consistent contributions. Meeks in particular has been a great find; she serves as the Vandals' second setter in their 6-2 offense and is second to Fargher in assists.
Meeks' maturation in her role as a varsity starter has allowed Hoctor to make Fargher a more integral part of the Vandals' offensive attack. Fargher is third on the team in kills, behind Brewer and Lindner.
Bickleton and Trout Lake/Glenwood feature two of the top middle blockers in the league in sophomore Katelynn Clinton and sophomore Liz Vogt. Clinton, along with Morgan McBride and Star Kibby, has been a key player in the Pirates' rise to second place in GCB standings.
TLG struggled to find consistency in its game during the regular season and finished tied with Sunnyside Christian for third place. Sunnyside Christian received the higher district seed, however, based on the league's tiebreaker system.