The high school volleyball season in Oregon officially starts today — almost a week before Washington — and the Walla Walla Valley will see McLoughlin, Weston-McEwen and Helix in action at their respective homes right away.
Today has Mac-Hi hosting Elgin, Enterprise, Umatilla and Wallowa for a jamboree starting at 9 a.m.; Weston-McEwen welcomes Dufur and Imbler for a tri-meet in Athena beginning at 2 p.m.; Pilot Rock goes to Griswold High for a 5 p.m. match.
Here are Mac-Hi, Weston-McEwen and Helix season previews:
League: Class 4A-6 Greater Oregon League
Coach: Lucy Deal
Last year: 4-12 overall, 1-5 in the league (third place)
Departures: Brittney Wells (all-league second team), Megan Norton, Kaitlynne Jensen, Jamie Jackson, Anney Banek, Jessica Ruvalcaba, Raylene Recinos.
Returning players: Abby Richwine, Middle Blocker, Sydney Dibble, Courtney Breeding, Cambree Chester, Hannah Brunot, Darby Rhodes, Kady Brown, Hannah Pulliam.
Additions: Jaycee Deal, Leslie Diaz, Sophia Oliva, Emma Leber.
Coach Deal: “I am so pleased with the mental strides these girls have taken, it is hard to come where they started to see a light at the end of the tunnel and I truly believe that they are not only believing in themselves but finally in each other as well.
“It has been such a pleasure to watch these girls blossom into and actual team and they can accomplish anything they decide to do together. I am looking forward to the first winning season this program has seen in a very long time, but with the girls that are showing up I have no doubt that they can accomplish just that.”
League: Class 2A-6 Blue Mountain Conference
Coach: Shawn White
Last year: sixth at state; 25-8 overall, 9-3 in the league (second place)
Departures: Bryce Thul (all-conference first team), Hailey Weaver (all-conference second team), Tyree Burke (all-conference honorable mention), Keree Graves.
Returning players: Emma Olson (all-conference first team), Jesse Manning (all-conference second team), Ellie Scheibner, Trinity Hearn, Kendra Zink, Carrie Hazen, Cloe Davis.
Additions: Charli King, Bailey Munck.
Coach White: “Our conference will be very competitive again this year, and has a tremendous amount of parity. With Grant Union (second in state) graduating most their team, the league title is wide open this year. We expect to be very competitive in the league and the state.
“All our athletes have shown great improvement from last fall. I am excited about both the strength of our defense and our serving, and the growth of our offense. We should be competitive with anyone we play.”
League: Class 1A-7 Old Oregon League
Coach: Caitlin Steele
Last year: 8-15 overall, 5-7 in the league (sixth place)
Departures: Arianna Krol (all-league second team), Jenna Herron, Annie Wood.
Returning players: Kyleen Stahancyk, Kyla Harper, Margaret Case, Rylee Mann, Lexie Mize.
Additions: Ellie Reeder, Madi Campbell, Gabby Simpson, Leonie Ottmar, Georgia Berga.
Coach Steele: “They already have a good foundation coming into this season, but we’re still trying to build on that. For a goal, we’d like to make the first round of the playoffs. I think that’s a good team goal. Otherwise, I’m just here to help give the girls a good experience — one where they’re having fun and loving the game.”